Sunday, November 7, 2010
I made some BIG changes last night, I actually axed a rather significant segment that I'd taken for granted would be in the film. Last night though, I realized it was disrupting the flow of the story, so I moved it over to the bonus section as a featurette. I believe the body of the film is at about 2 hours 30 minutes right now, with about two hours of bonus clips lounging around in very shabby form.
What I don't comprehend is why I feel so totally awesome this morning after a night with about 5 hours of sleep. Maybe I should do it again tonight!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
About 15 minutes later, the kids are up. "Mama, I need you! Mama come here!" Why do they need me? Well, as it turns out, a toy commercial of utmost urgency. Interrupted.
Go back to work, 30 seconds in, interrupted. "I need you to draw Iron Man." Then its time for breakfast. Five minutes of work go by. Then more interruptions. I doggedly refuse to turn off Vegas altogether (Vegas, my editing software, that is, not New Vegas, my beautiful lovely game that I've had no time to play) but this is getting nowhere fast. You need to really settle in and concentrate to do serious editing. And now I must draw the Hulk...
Moments like these are frustrating. You can't blame them, they're kids. They miss me during the work week and I miss them. They don't care that the last month and half has seen the majority of Saturdays taken up with birthday parties for their daycare friends, or that every weeknight is completely filled by cooking dinner, giving them baths, and homework, and putting them to bed. By the time all that's done, I'm usually too tired to think about anything but a pillow. And you can't fault them for it. But it is maddeningly frustrating, right now I want to say "Leave me alone for FIVE MINUTES! I'm trying to make a MOVIE here!" but can't. I'm walking the tightrope over personal time and guilt about wanting personal time.
OK. Now that I've got the whining out of my system, a thought occurs. My husband is spending the night at a friends' house tonight. When 8:30 rolls around, when the kids are in bed... OMFG, it's ME TIME!
And me time tonight is going to be... an allllllllll nighter.
But I'm still not turning off Deadpool and Venom. You never know, maybe I'll get an hour in somewhere between now and the next toddler birthday party this afternoon.
Friday, September 24, 2010
I drove up to Myriad Games in Manchester, NH, shortly after GenCon to interview the store owner, Dan Yarrington. This is the second games store that Dan has opened in the area (the first located in Salem, NH), so he's doing something right. Dan's wife, Sara, is an educator, one that uses board games in the classroom. I got to interview both of them in Myriad's spacious Game Parlour.
Dan's a big believer in professionalism and providing a service by helping guide customers to the right game for them. If you're in the southern New Hampshire area, I highly suggest you check out his store. It is beautiful and inviting, the staff are friendly, and the game room is really nice.
Eariler this week, I also drove up to Concord, NH to interview Eric Martin, editor of boardgamenews.com. Eric is largely responsible for my having discovered this hobby in the first place; it was his game group that my husband first attended. Eric's also been interviewed for Kevin Tostado's Monopoly documentary, "Under the Boardwalk," So he's gaining a reputation as quite the board gaming authority these days. :)
One of the topics of our conversation that really struck me was when Eric spoke about games as an art form. Just as movies, music, and books are not always written with the goal of pure entertainment, sometimes games are about something more than just "fun."
Today I had the afternoon off, so I did a bit of editing work, but then got side-tracked capturing portraits of all my existing interview subjects. This task had to be done, anyway. Here are some samples:
What's next? More editing (tomorrow, to infinity, and beyond). And once the full narrative is in place, have someone else edit it, smooth out the rough spots, color-correct, audio-correct, all that good stuff. Lots of work yet to do, but 95% of the filming is done, friends!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
All told, I logged at least 35 hours of editing work during August. I have a rough cut of the first 10 minutes of the film. And probably another 10-15 shaping up nicely right after that part. Large segments are coming together, and a coherent progression of discussion is emerging. That's exciting.
But August is gone, now. Oh, hai September! Let's get to work. Now I'm thinking about what I can do for something trailery or promotional in October (Essen season) since it's unlikely I'll be ready to release by then.
Friday, August 13, 2010
- Heated debate at dinner about editorials vs. documentaries has made me very awake (but with sore throat). All to the good.
- Fruit punch NOS provided by Justin is enabling lots of editing! Does that make Justin an enabler?
- Even though I can't really pay attention to it, listening to "She Does" by Collective Soul and loving it.
Hour 2, Mark Kaufmann continued
- Mark talking about word of mouth and distribution channels, and that designer games don't really belong in Wal-Mart in the first place, because in order to hit the right price points, the quality would have to go way down. And kids, we don't want that, right?!
- Whistling to Collective Soul "Fuzzy." You know, at first I didn't like this album. It's growing on me. Like this fruit punch NOS...
- Saving the timeline. I've been bitten by not doing so before...
- Oh, right, right! Stand up break... BRB
- Time to switch it up... "Nine in the Afternoon"
- Can I just tell you what a joy it is editing on a widescreen monitor vs. the laptop??
- Sleep, I laugh in your general direction!
- Now at bat, the Christophe Boelinger interview from Essen. I love this guy! The hottest French game designer/rapper/extreme sports enthusiast in the entire film, guaranteed! He's sort of got the Viggo look going.
- Just put a jacket on. This is not August weather at ALL. How refreshing.
- I think I smell a skunk outside.
- hmm, is this train slowing down? Inconceivable!
- Starting up the interview with the Lamont brothers (Shear Panic, Snow Tails, Savannah Tails)
- What? What? Whut? WHUUUT????
- T-Cat wants to know urgently, "Mistress, what are you doing up?" I tell her, "Not now, the Lamonts are talking about Ostrich-racing!"
- Film timeline is currently at 4 hours, 37 minutes including bonus material
- Finished the Lamont interview, got all the segment marker snips back where they belong
- I think that's it. I hope this counts as all night...
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Friday night, the kids are going to be with the grandparents. I'm in the mood to edit, but I can't take any more time off work just now.
I'm thinking of doing an all-night editing session. Yes, true believers; an all-nighter. And I want it to be a flawlessly executed all-nighter in the classic style. I somehow got through college without ever learning this art. The closest I have been to it was a Sunken Temple raiding session in WoW that went till 2 AM. /shudder
So what do I need to do here? How late is Starbucks open, I wonder? Is it dangerous to mix cappuccino with Amp? Should snacks be involved, or no?
The planning has begun!
Friday, August 6, 2010
Processed the following:
- Added the pre-Essen "People's Choice" Awards ceremony, featuring Jay Tummelson, Donald Vaccarino, and Matt Leacock and others
- Guido Teuber interview. Awesome
- Alex Yeager (Mayfair Games) interview - great speaker, had a good overview of the industry and where it's gone. Also awesome.
- Klaus Teuber interview - a triumverate of awesome!
Just enough time to shut down now. I planned on doing so an hour ago, but anything but a full court press just seemed like the wrong way to end a 3-day editing extravaganza...mission...quest...thing.
The latest runtime for the film (and this is a meaningless number of course) is I think 2 hours and 45 minutes or so, not counting bonus features.
Tons and tons more to do, but from here on out, I will be grabbing every spare hour of time I can wherever and whenever I can, to do it. I've been doing so, to a point, up till now, but let's just say... @#$%& just got real!
First, there were the bulk candy bins. This is another indicator about how kid-friendly the event is, Haribo has at least two massive tables filled with bulk candy. It's like a scene out of Willy Wonka (the original).
I passed that up, though, for the Snack Point, a stand about the size of a Starbucks in a mall or airport, alive with sizzling sausages and all manner of good food. I got a curry bratwurst there, and it was anything but bland. They probably thought I was an idiot, there with my camera filming the sausages, but my job as an indie servant is to bring you the sights and sounds of the moment (even if I have to look like a fool to do it).
On one of the following days, I found mushroom goulash at another stand, and it was truly the best mushroom stew type thing I've ever had. I would be hard-pressed to make something as good at home. It was only made better by the combination of being ravenous and expecting far lesser fare at a game convention. Oh, and I do believe the goulash stand also had beer. Not something you'd see at an American convention, especially one that welcomes children, right? If there was one in the US that was this kid-friendly, of course...
I forgot to get a good shot of the crepe stand, which was a silver volkswagen-style van serving crepes out the side. I didn't get to try one, but just, Hello!?! A crepe stand at a game con! FTW!
OK, back to work! Live from Editing Marathon Day 3, this is... me.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Here's what I got through today:
- Started with the display shots from the press room at Essen. This was a big quiet set of rooms that had a bit of an echo, but were relatively quiet as far as space to be found at Essen goes. The Donald Vaccarino and Nick Medinger interviews are shot here.
- ...which led to the creation of the Agricola header banner at the top of the blog. Hey, call it a warm-up exercise! :)
- Most of the day was spent pulling good cutaways from the Essen floor footage. This included an interview with a German convention-goer, some focus on the various concessions stands (will do a separate entry about that in a minute) and an interview with Markus Welbourne of JKLM Games (publishers of Huang Di and Tulipmania 1637)
- Chainmail bikinis.
- Found the footage of the life-sized foosball table they had set up in the kid hall, as well as a Star Trek-style game where kids tried to knock each other off pedestals with big nerf staves (Riker and his Dad played this if IIRC)
Feeling pretty tired right now, I think pretty close to the way I was feeling around Essen day 2, when I filmed a Blair Witch parody about being lost. I *may* let that footage see the light of day sometime.
Tomorrow, I still need to shuffle the segments, and bring in the Matt Leacock (Pandemic) and Nick Kellet (GiftTrap) interviews. Oh, and the Klaus and Guido Teuber interviews, because now I have a spot in mind for where to put those. :)
Big thanks to the great folks at Myriad Games in Salem and Manchester, NH for making this possible. You'll be seeing them in the film!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I think I got a lot done. I went through the full interviews I did with Corey Konieczka of Fantasy Flight Games, and Nick Medinger of Funagain.com. An awful lot of both these interviews is great material, but for the first pass, I'm just throwing in the segments that are good in the sections they roughly belong in, and will edit that down later.
Here are some of the other things I hope to do in the next two days:
- A quick trip to Walmart to get a shot of their game shelves for cutaway material - maybe
- Go through the Essen footage and get the shot of the concessions stand, as well as the life-size foosball table with kids, and the conversation I had with the designer of the marijuana-themed game there
- Reconnect with Christophe Boelinger, and my contact who runs the gamer cruises
- Change the order of some of the sections in the timeline. I wrote them all down today in their current order, and some shuffling needs to be done
- Flesh out the Scott Nicholson segment about Libraries, and integrate the ALA convention footage
- Integrate Gordon and Frasier Lamont footage from Essen interview - I wonder if I can get stock footage of ostrich racing...
- Set up black backdrop in the basement, and start filming shots of various board games
That's by no means everything that needs to be done, just some things that jump to mind. I ended the day by re-watching the closing and credits, which are among the closest to finished bits. The momentum by the end of the day seems good, and will hopefully grow tomorrow.
It's going to take a lot more than three days to finish this puppy. Things I still need to film but will have to wait for another time (in the near future) include:
- Catan gaming night - You guys know who you are ;)
- War of the Ring collector's edition unboxing and playing segment
- Interview with Myriad Games - a local Salem, NH gaming store with a newly opened second branch in Manchester, NH
- Interview with Eric Martin of boardgamenews
There are some additional segments I'd do if I had more time and funds, but I've hit the point where I have to realize that I have "enough" and that I could go on filming indefinitely if I let myself. And besides, what would that leave as far as material for Going Cardboard: The Revenge?
Monday, August 2, 2010
- Tuesday: My guerilla doc filming hero, Anthony Artis, posted that his "Indie Film Bootcamp" seminar was now available for purchase on DVD. I order it without a second thought. Much love for this guy, his advice is practical and inspirational. One day I will go meet him to say thanks.
- Friday: A late-afternoon development arose where I suddenly had the chance for my teaser trailer to be played on the show floor at Gen Con. But I would have to convert it to a different format than the wmv it currently existed as, and fast.
- Friday night: Started on converting the trailer as soon as I got home, but had a lot of trouble for some reason, including low memory notifications and all sorts of other weird issues.
- Saturday morning: Woke up, turned on the computer, and a partition was corrupt. Supposedly this had a simple fix, but the restore disk was password protected (WTF, Dell?) and shut off after 3 attempts. Nutshell: Computer effectively dead.
Luckily, all my footage is on external hard drives, as is the Vegas Movie project file. Those were fine, though they are also backed up. At the stroke of 10 AM, I hustled the kids into the car, and peeled out of the driveway for the local Best Buy. By 3:30 PM Saturday, I was setting up a new computer, a PC this time, that had so much going on compared to my old laptop, it literally had special system memory allocated JUST to laugh heartily at its own power. Like Captain Hammer. For about half the price.
By 9 PM Saturday night, I was emailing my contact with a link to the finished teaser video. I'll talk about that later if all goes well; I'm not superstitious, but I never go into detail about something this good until it actually happens. Don't want to jinx it.
Sunday dawned bright and beautiful! I cracked into the Indie Film Bootcamp seminar, which had arrived in the mail on Friday, and started getting super-inspired. Look out film, you are about to be edited with a vengeance!
Especially since I have ideas for three more documentaries after this... but one thing at a time. I believe it was Porkins who put it best when he said, "Stay on target. Stay on target."
PS - I am going to try to get the laptop fixed, but this new PC can render footage about 6 times faster than the laptop. It was something I needed anyway, but was trying to gimp along without. How silly of me.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
This editing session was unexpected, actually. I'd been feeling a tad uninspired about doing any work on the film that week. Inspiration ebbs and flows on any long-term project like this, and I was definitely in an ebb.
Then somebody gave me a little push, just by saying, "Oh, no plans to work on the doc at all this weekend?" (in a sort of taunting way, very much on purpose). Sometimes, all you need to get back to feeling creative is that small push to dive in and get back into it. And now I'm feeling re-inspired, and back into it!
So thanks for that push. :)
Friday, June 18, 2010
VERY exciting news, I've been hoping to see Catan playable on the Surface since the first time I heard about the technology.
UPDATE: Here's a video of Catan Surface in action:
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
As you try to get back into the rhythm of another work week, you ought to don those headphones and give this a listen. It's just shy of 30 minutes, and it's 30 minutes well-spent, I say!
Download Episode 3 of The Little Metal Dog Show here.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
A pretty good segment about Monopoly and the "Ameritrash" concept has coalesced, as well as some more outtake bits for the credits roll (I just really love those). I added material to the segment where people talk about community, and cut in the story of the rise of Unity Games. I integrated a bunch of the Z-Man interview from PAX, as well as the Geek Nights boys, who are very good at stating things in a provocative and intelligent manner.
I added the cutaways I shot of the Microsoft Surface D&D demo to the tech sequence I'm working on (all about the board game port-overs to Xbox, iPhone, iPad, etc.).
Oh, and last Thursday, I ran home for lunch to do a Skype interview with Michael Fox, the creator of the new UK gaming podcast, Little Metal Dog (I'll let you know when that's live). I don't know if the interview paired with taking a vacation day from work to edit had some kind of catalyst effect, but things are moving forward a great deal faster at the moment than they have been in the last couple months.
It could also be the hemp brownies I bought at Lull Farm this morning...
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
- The Dungeons & Dragons demo on the MS Surface. I think Eurogames on the Surface would be a lot of fun, especially since you wouldn't need the DM driving the game forward like you do with D&D (granted, the interface to do that looked pretty cool if rather technical). I will have a section in Going Cardboard about technology and board games, ports to platforms like the XBox 360 and iPhone, so I wanted some footage of the Surface in action. It lends itself especially well to board gaming, I'm sure we'll start to see Eurogames on it soon. And I still really really want to own one, $15,000 pricetag be damned.
- Zev of Z-Man games was in attendance, so I did an interview with him. I'd been bummed to miss him at Essen, and life doesn't hand you second-chances like this very often. Or maybe it does, because while we were chatting, who meanders over but...
- Rick Thornquist, creator of boardgamenews.com and currently finishing up a book about Infocom games. He did not escape uninterviewed.
I also recorded a board game panel called Beyond Candyland. I was lucky enough to get a follow-up interview with the panelists, Rym and Scott, who host the Geek Nights podcast show I mentioned in my last blog entry, great insights and a unique perspective on the hobby, you'll definitely be seeing them in the movie!
Friday, April 9, 2010
Since they were in town for the whole week after PAX to also attend Anime Boston, I actually got a chance to sit down and interview them. These guys seem to know something about pretty much everything geeky and/or cool, and an awful lot about game theory, which was a subject I hadn't heard anybody talk in depth about. Bottom line, they had an interesting perspective, are fun to talk to, and are just all-around cool guys.
The Geek Nights podcast is divided into 4 themes. From their About section:
Mondays: Science & Technology
Wednesdays: Anime, Manga, and Comics
Thursdays: "Anything goes"
If you haven't heard of GeekNights already, check it out!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The segment includes footage shot during Unity XV, and the 2009 Gathering of Friends, all of it was very early-on in terms of development of the story (and really, finding out what the story WAS). It was in many ways the "discovery" phase, which is why I frequently asked the question, "What is the size of your board game collection?"
This makes for a good first teaser, because it's a concept accessible and interesting/fun to both the non-gamer and the die-hard gamer. There are currently several segments close to this level of finished, but last Saturday, this one just wound up being the one that came together and felt "right."
Hope you like it! Stay tuned!
Friday, March 19, 2010
I'm leaning towards upbeat and happy music, both because I like it, and because the film's overall mood warrants it. I haven't settled on anything specific, with the exception of a closing credits song. I keep coming back to this track by Dan Gautreau as my closing score. Take a listen, for the creepy audio watermark if for no other reason. :) This track just feels "right," and the fact that it has continued to feel that way is a sign to me that maybe it is. For me, it captures both the "keep on keeping on" vibe of the independent designer as well as the friendships and good times of designer board gaming.
There's another option in the mix, though, a member of the board game community who also happens to be a composer is interested in collaborating. I welcome the expertise of course, and anything that benefits the film the way an experienced film score composer would is worth serious consideration. If I can make it work out, I will, because I also really like the idea of involving people who care about the hobby in the process. I'll talk more about this once things are confirmed, I don't like to jinx myself as a general rule (which is why I didn't talk about the fact that I was interviewing Klaus Teuber at Essen until it actually happened!)
Anyway, I welcome thoughts about the track sample above. Upward and onward! :)
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
How can I not film? :) I just can't not. This does, however, turn it into work instead of leisure. Oh well. I can rest in 2011.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Next Friday, I am taking a day off to do even more. I'm also talking to a composer from the board gaming community who could be doing the score. It sounds promising, and I would welcome his technical expertise!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
This isn't the first time anyone's thought about board games including an electronic component (Space Alert has a fun CD audio element, for example) but it's certainly the most interesting and cutting edge implementation I've seen, and it looks like it would be SO MUCH fun to play.
What kills me is, these guys were demonstrating the technology at MIT yesterday. If I'd only known, I could have interviewed them, and since I've already got a lot of discussion about board games on tech platforms like the iPhone or XBox, it would have been a nice addition.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Scott brings a lot to the game table. Not only does he do the podcasts, as a professor of Library Science at Syracuse University, he's also heavily involved in getting librarians to add board games to their lending programs. Oh, and runs a large annual board gaming event one of the nights of the main ALA conference. He's also recently crossed into designer territory himself, with the 2009 release of Tulipmania 1637.
It was a wonderful interview, and I've since transcribed and loaded it into my digital treasure trove of stuff.
This past week, I also became acquainted with Myriad Games in Salem, NH. I'll be heading over there at some point to get a store owner's perspective, and to film a game night, which they run regularly.
There aren't very many more interviews needed. I fussed around some with footage, but I didn't get much done in the way of editing the last 2 weekends. I'm going to make a schedule with deadlines, it's the only way I can really dig in. But I'm thinking about structure. There's going to be a segment about electronics and iPhone ports, and one about Catan, one about collection sizes and the collecting bug, oh, and maybe I'll include a snippet of Essen in the film, you know, just for kicks... ;)
Thursday, January 14, 2010
The list is pretty thorough and includes books on the history of old-school board games as well. Worth a look even if you aren't designing.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
And clearly, the kids' spidey senses just went off, because now they're fighting and crying...excuse me one minute...
Back. See, this is what makes editing a challenge here. It's not just that I'm on the learning curve when it comes to HOW to edit (I watched my Unity Montage the other day just to remind myself that I can do it though). And it's not just that I have like 50 hours of footage, yet still a few key pieces yet to obtain, and I have to keep mental track of all of it. On top of that, it's the fact that really the weekend is the only time to do this, and the kids are home, and they do have an uncanny knack for interrupting me the minute I sit down at the laptop.
This phase, more than any other, is bringing out the inherent challenge that is trying to make a documentary as a mom. I'll figure this out, but I may start affectionately referring to them as "my little monkey wrenches..."
So anyway, I started editing with the intro, not because I'm going sequentially, but because I had a good idea how I want it to look and what I want it to do. And more or less, I got the first 30 seconds to do what I intended. Which is cool!
Hold on, they want ice cream...they know they've got me over a barrel here...
At the moment, the movie begins with some text on screen about Essen. One thing that impressed me about Essen was the constant roar of humanity generated by 150,000 people. It was like being at the ocean. It was also a nightmare for filming interviews, but nonetheless, it was part of the experience. So I wanted to capture that somehow, and the way I'm doing it at the moment is to kick in the audio of that ambient roar as the text is displaying, and fade in to one of my crowd shots (still) as the noise reaches a peak. Sort of like they do when they cover rock concerts. Then, as abruptly as possible, I have it cut out to darkness and silence. The part I'm working on today is where it transitions into people talking about playing board games as kids.
So in a nutshell, the intro so far gives the viewer a preview of where things will be headed later in the film, but in a more static way that doesn't really give it all away (and I have Jason Scott to thank once again for the initial idea of how to do this, because at first I had NO intention of showing Essen right away). Sort of "this is where it is today" and then cutting off in a way that should feel like, "But HOLD ON, now. How did we get there?" And then the story begins.
This stuff is actually harder to explain than to DO, wow. :)