Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Da Yankeeze!!!

This is my tribute to the "typical" Yankee fan; the guys and girls who live, breathe, eat and... well. I intended this to be a web promo to coincide with the beginning of baseball season, but after shooting it, we had numerous scheduling and personal setbacks. I'm glad it's here now, but to be honest the setbacks only gave me more time to criticize myself for the choices we made.

The idea was based on an incident that occurred on a subway platform during the 2001 World Series. Derek Jeter had just hit his historic "Mr. November" home run to cap a beautiful comeback and I was waiting for the 6 train at 59th Street when this strange man, who resembled Rev. Jim Ignatowski from Taxi in every conceivable way, wobbled up to me and asked for change. When I told him I didn't have any, he asked me if I was following the World Series. Yeah, I watched it on the big TV at school. He crept up closer and leered at me with a glazed, yet crazed look on his face...

"...da Yankees!!!"

After a purely awkward moment of silence, he repeatedly yells GO YANKEES, GO YANKEES!! at the top of his lungs as he stalked off along the platform. I stared at him, slightly aghast and slightly amused as he pretty much went off the deep end. Unforgettable moment, obviously.

We shot this overnight in mid-March before the new Stadium opened. Surprisingly, it was rather quiet; we only had a few people come near our setup. Security didn't chase us off as I was afraid of, and the police didn't bother us at all. We were in and out of the location (Jerome Avenue under the 4 train on the east side of the new stadium) in two hours. Considering that it wasn't where we intended to shoot when I wrote it (we were supposed to shoot at an empty subway station), it turned out to be a blessing that we were able to get so close.

Our leads, Robert Youngren (Creepy Guy) and Trey Albright (Regular Guy) were a real pleasure to work with and eager to give their best. I was working with Eric Phelan, our DP, for the first time, but he brought to ACs and good guys whom I already knew (Jamal Khaldi and Irv Miller). Chris Allen returned as my AD and kept us in good working order, Kristofer Sharkey did the heavy administrative lifting and everything went down without a hitch.

What happened after that? Well, first I didn't get my dailies. They were burned on the wrong type of disk, and I couldn't see a thing. Then my DP was working on another project, so we had to wait for him to be available again. During this time, Chris tried to edit, but again became frustrated and we decided to turn the editing over to Eric for when he came back from his other project. Fortunately, Eric had already worked on a rough draft, so polishing it up would be a snap.

Then my uncle went into the hospital. With this on my hands, I postponed our next shoot and tended to him before and after his surgery, which turned out to be life-saving. Happily, he recently left the hospital and is recuperating at a nursing home doing some PT before he returns home. With that, I returned to the project with Eric and we made a polished edit, inserting the animation at the end that I created by playing around with Flash.

After some soul-searching among the producers (plus some final editing), we finally got it up on Youtube. I have to admit, I was ready to reshoot the whole thing after listening to the numerous complaints about the footage, but with Eric's skill with Final Cut, I think this makes at least a passable web promo, and something that I wouldn't mind having on the reel.

With things beginning to settle down personally, we're getting ready to shoot Part 2 of this string; a tribute to old and new Yankee Stadium and a subtle dig at our crosstown rivals. I'm hoping we can actually get some cooperation with the Yanks and the city for this one as we have a sort-of complicated set up that involves setting down some lights. Hopefully we won't have to course-correct as much as we did with this, and I can assure you'll get a belly laugh from it. By the way, if you should like to support our efforts to produce these shorts on a regular basis, send me an email with an inquiry about how you'd like to help; be it manpower, resources or even networking.

Lastly, I'd like to dedicate this and the sequel to this (coming soon) to all Yankee fans; in particular the fans at Bronx Banter. Leave comments, forward to people you know (or don't know, that's fine too) and enjoy the clip! >;)

Da Yankeeze!!!

Cast -

Trey Albright - Regular Guy
Robert Youngren - Creepy Guy


Director - William Jackson
D.P. - Eric Phelan
A.C. - Jamal Khaldi
A.C. - Irv Miller
Assoc. Producer - Kristofer Sharkey
Producer - Chris Allen

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Networking with Film/TV Industry Folk

Yesterday I worked as a PA/Driver in Trenton, NJ on a reality show called "Make My Day"; a British import about watching a selected individual throughout the day as he/she experiences a set of "coincidences" that actually brighten the person's day, culminating with a nice celebration after the reveal. The show is to air on TV Land, which I had supposed to be above reality shows; but if they are into it, then this isn't a bad show to deal with. After all, it's really about making the person happy, as opposed to driving them crazy or making them sick or angry or even dumber. Actually, I was invited to apply for a competitive show myself; apparently there is a show in the works that involves pairing good and bad drivers together and having them drive through NYC on various tasks to compete for a prize. That's all I know right now; I'll let you know when I find out more.

I'm posting this article as a plea or a point, if you will, on behalf of myself and my collegues who are crew members in the film and TV industry. Most of the PAs I know and have worked with in the past have been out of work for quite some time, or have been working a few short-term gigs here and there; maybe 1 or 2 days every other week or more. The gig I just came from was for two days, and before that I worked a two-day gig in the beginning of April. Needless to say, I am very underemployed, as are many other crew folks. And yet, when I do get work and speak to people I'm meeting for the first time; say a Key PA or a coordinator, they invariably say that they have been working steadily without any breaks. How can this be, other than the fact that they are very close with key executives, and in turn hire people they are close with? I suppose there is nothing wrong with establishing a good relationship with someone who can hire you consistently, but it seems right now there are either so many people with so few jobs available, or there is a lot of job hoarding going on. Several people have told me that there's a lot of work going on right now, but how can I find it if the work is not advertised?

That's why I'm setting up a network post in this article; I will from time-to-time post ads from various sources about upcoming gigs for PAs and maybe grips, art department or camera assistants; areas I intend to branch into when I'm not writing or directing my own productions. I'll tell you that at this writing, I am in line to direct a low-budget indie film, along with a few shorts that I've written. I'm certain that the directing gig, if the project is greenlit, will solve a lot of personal diffculties I'm experiencing, and from there I may have some say in getting my collegues more work. But without getting too far ahead, I'll start by posting a few links I found as of this date.

I invite you to forward via email or post in these comments any gigs you are aware of or discover in your daily doings; I will continue posting new gigs as they come. Networking has been the best way for us to find more work; as I had stated before, most new gigs are often not advertised, and we have to rely on the good faith of coordinators or keys who either remember our work from before, or who are willing to give us a chance based on someone else's word. Let's maximize this by spreading the word about each other, c'mon and network with us! >;)

(please note, I will only post paying gigs; no non-paying or intern gigs; we do this for a living, not for experience we already have. For those who have specialized skills or technical backgrounds, I will post gigs that call for this for you as well.)

From NYC Craigslist, week of April 19-25, 2009:

http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/tfr/1136249550.html - HBO Documentary Series

http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/tfr/1135721515.html - Freelance Broadcast News & Web Positions

http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/tfr/1133243107.html - MLB network seeking techincal assistants

http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/cwg/1135491212.html - Brooklyn Soundstage Assistant

Sunday, April 12, 2009

America and Obama are lying about the Pirates in Somalia!!!!!

Ok folks this is my first post on the Serious Consideration blogspot. I told Chyll Wyll I would only write about something I felt strongly about. Well, this is it. The Pirates of Somalia who fight the "Good Fight" against global tyranny and environmental terrorism. For years the Americans, and Europeans(white people) have been dumping their waste into the coastal waters of Somalia and other poor impoverished countries in Africa and around the globe without remorse or care for the results that this toxic dumping has had on the environment and the people of these lands. The other factor that mainstream media has neglected to mention is the fact that these protectors who are now dubbed pirates did not start off as such. They actually started as a volunteer Coast Guard consisting of local fisherman whose mission it was to protect the country, the environment, the people, and their very livelihoods from the poisonous dumping of radioactive and biohazardous materials into their coastal region. After exhausting all other possibilities of reason with these foreign devils they have put their feet down and said, "This is where we draw the line, enough is enough..." and started to attack those who seek leisure in their country at the expense of their environment. What did these devils think was going to happen? Do you think that you can continue to terrorize people in their own homes without consequence forever? Apparently that is not the case, a painfully obvious fact to which America and Europe and being forcefully awakened to. The fact that people around the world will no longer take their shit lying down. I say it is about time given the history of the relationship Africans have had with people of no color(white people) that someone is standing up and fighting at all cost against these regimes of terror that have plagued the continent for so long dating back to Alexander The Great and beyond. And sad enough, this is all going down and being continued under the watch of "The annointed One" Obama. This my dear readers just go to prove that despite the fact we have a blackman in the office, the legacy of "houseniggery" and "samboism" continues. Notice while on the presidential campaign he did not make statements that put his allegiance to his own people and some people; intellects who are friends gladly accepted his lack of stance as ok saying, "Well, if he makes a statement about the plight of Black people, he will never get elected..." or better yet(my personal favorite to hear from the fearful), "Well, once he gets in, he change his position and begin to do things for the other people of color[who voted for him]". To those spineless folk I say only one thing; What if Rosa was afraid of being arrested? What if Harriet Tubman decided the consequences out weighed the righteousness of her actions? What if Martin and Malcolm X were afraid that they may have to pay the ultimate price? Here we have a blackman afraid that he will not be elected or re-elected and you still voted for him and for cowardice? Those pirates are very brave and may they continue the fight to put our oppressors on their asses. And before any of you dare make the claim that my sentiment is unpatriotic, realize that mine and the history of people of color in this country has fostered a love/hate relationship that is shared universally by people of color toward this governement and shall continue until the day we are no longern bound by the "foot on the neck" policy this government has endured with dark skinned people. There are or (were) things I loved about this country and there are things i hate about it as well; which one out weighs heaviest, actually I do not know.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

And In Other News...

Uncle Woodrow is in the hospital right now; he has a gall bladder infection and has to have surgery to remove it. I've been assured that the technique is not as invasive as say open-heart surgery, as the gall bladder is apparently not a major organ and one can remove it without major consequence. However, he's seventy-eight years old; gall stones have basically shot the thing to pieces and if it were to stay, then it would only become infected again. So, he's scheduled for for surgery some time in the next few days. I'll be looking over him for the duration, so you'll hear even less of me for the time being (hah!)

All I ask is that you keep Uncle Woodrow in your prayers this week as he deals with this. He's in good spirits to say the least, so I think he'll be all right.

Oh, and today's my birthday, Happy Birthday to me. Plus, Happy Birthday to Call Me Ismael, April 4. Peace!


Uncle Woodrow had the surgery today after further tests revealed that the infected gall bladder was gangrenous and was leaking pus. The doctor actually came out and said that the procedure was "difficult" (how often do you hear a doctor with over fifteen years of specialized training say a procedure was "difficult"?), but he's a tough guy and pulled through. He's resting easy in the hospital now and will likely be there for the week while they administer fluids, antibiotics and monitor his condition.

None of this has hit me yet, honestly. One of the best birthday presents I can ever have is having helped save my uncle's life. But it won't hit me until he's home and healthy.