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Posts tagged as “Editing”

On the topic of creative goals

I am, without a doubt and as evidenced by this site’s content, a voracious consumer of media. There’s no question about that. But consumption has never been enough for me. When I read a book, I want to write one. When I listen to music, I want to play some. When I see a film, I want to make one. You get the idea. It isn’t about competing or some sense that what I would make is superior, but about this sense that making things is fun and rewarding and I would like to have fun and feel satisfied that I’ve made something cool, something that someone else will take pleasure in, no matter how small. It is not about fulfillment of my ego, but about sharing and inspiring and making people feel better and laugh and sing. That feeling is a driving force behind The Black Laser, for sure. When I see I am getting lots of hits, I am motivated to continue to share things. When someone comes up to me and says they read something I wrote here and they agreed or disagreed or had some thoughts or whatever, I feel encouraged to continue to put things up here. It is a self-fulfilling cycle. I am glad every day that 2 and a half years ago I put this site up as a place to share and vent and comment. It serves that purpose, but it is not my only creative outlet (nor should it be).

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were sitting at Rai Rai Ken in the East Village enjoying a wonderful, warming bowl of ramen after a long had day of museuming at the Met. As happens every time I go to a museum (without taking into account that we spent like 7 hours there), my brain was alight with creative thoughts and notions and directions, buzzing with possibilities as I slurped down my ramen. The conversation took a turn toward creative pursuits and I started going off on some of the things I would like to accomplish in the future, short-, medium-, and long-term. And I recognized that most of them are tied into how they make other people feel. I mean, what is the point of making things if you don’t share them and they don’t affect people?

And so my goals are, in no particular order…

I would like to write a record that makes people want to dance. – I love dancing. There’s no secret about that. I think it would be really fun for my work to be floating around, getting played in clubs or homes or schools or work places or cars, and making people want to shake their asses. It’s my contribution to the obesity epidemic: lose weight by shaking that corpulent rump. It’s good exercise and it’s fun. I’d like to inspire that.

I would like to write a song that people want to sing along to. – Have you ever hung out with me for longer than maybe like 15 minutes? And have you ever been around when a song I really like has come on the stereo/jukebox/whatever? Well, then you know I am almost definitely going to be singing along to it loudly. Very loudly in some cases. There are a lot of songs like that which have had real effects on my life in positive ways. For example, you want to make me feel better almost immediately? Put on Pulp’s This Is Hardcore and not only will I sing along to every single word, but my mood will lift demonstrably. I would like to help people feel the same way. To feel the same way I feel when I’m singing along to Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Two-Headed Boy” or The Magnetic Fields’ “Papa Was a Rodeo”.

I would like to write a collection of short stories. – I’m sort of on the way to this one. I bet that somewhere, buried in the archives of The Black Laser’s fiction section are the seeds of at least 12 decent short stories. I think 12 is a good place to start and then go from there. There’s nothing specific I want to accomplish with the short stories, but I’d like to use the whole collection to explore some themes I wrestle with regularly: loneliness, desperation, sadness, shame, regret. Cheery stuff mostly.

I would like to write a novel. – As long as I can remember, I’ve been a dedicated reader of novels. I love them. I love the challenge that a good novel presents, working to make sense of what the author has laid out on the page. If there’s anything I dislike about writing, it is when you are handed huge chunks of back story or motivations in expository passages. The worst. I like to have my brain engaged with making sense of the fiction I’m presented with, if it is science fiction, literature, fantasy, horror, whatever. I’d like to engage readers on this level too, to see if I can craft a puzzle that is finely crafted enough that the reader can eventually make sense of what I’ve tried to say while being entertained.

I would like to read books on tape. – Or books on MP3 or whatever the next delivery format for audiobooks will be. This just seems like a really fun thing to do and that’s about it. I love reading and I’ve got an all right voice, so why not?

I would like to edit a feature film professionally. – I’ve assisted on a feature film that did pretty well for itself and I’ve edited a feature film for my friend and I’ve edited a few other things both professionally and not, but I would really like to be paid to cut a feature film. This is a professional and creative goal, which, I guess, are the best kind, right?

I think that’s it. A lot of things there, but nothing that is out of reach. And though this post may seem megalomaniacal and self-absorbed, I really don’t think it is. It’s about creating and sharing and inspiring and being inspired. I think those things are important and I think they are things we need to actively engage. I know that I definitely need to engage them or I start to feel lost, floating, unproductive. Adrift. Being creative and productive, as Jesse and I discussed recently, is vital to feeling good about myself. Hell, in the end, it helps me sleep knowing that I’ve accomplished something, even if it is minor. I have something thoughts a’brewing about at least one of these goals, so keep your eyes on The Black Laser in the coming weeks for some new fun material.

Final Cut Pro X keynote video and some thoughts

First watch the keynote.

Part 1:

Part 2:

I was going to write a bunch of thoughts about this presentation here, but I think my friend Matt over at Gawker summed it up quite nicely, even if he’s a little more hateful about it than I am.

Some quick thoughts:

Though I will wait for more info about the final release, Apple is still not addressing a few of my major concerns with Final Cut as a tool. One, the trim mode sucks. I live in trim mode. It’s my bread and butter. Not having one that works as seamlessly as the Avid’s is a huge bummer. Where I have one tool in Media Composer, I have 6 in Final Cut. Something is wrong with that. This thing they demoed is not a solution.

Two, I like being able to edit from sequences since it is a good way to organize selects or thematically similar items or even just to cut in work from other edits. Sure, I have the “Edit with Sequence Contents” key (and thank Jobs for that), but I’d like to be able to switch back and forth from my source sequence to my edit sequence. I don’t need to have thirty sequences open all at once, just two. Tabbed sequences are nice, sure, but I find I often end up making mistakes because I am working in the wrong tab in a rush.

Three, user settings. USER SETTINGS USER SETTINGS USER SETTINGS. I wish Apple would get this right. It would be so easy. I have a HIGHLY customized keyboard map that matches my Avid keys (also highly customized) so I can easily switch back and forth. I also have custom bin views, window layouts, button layouts, and effects preferences. It would be great if FCP would save all of that in one settings folder, like the Avid does, so I can easily switch back and forth between different edit bays in different offices on different coasts and get up and running with my highly tweaked set up ready to go easy-peasy. This might be my second biggest gripe with FCP.

Four, I’d like to be able to work in the same project as another editor at the same time on a network, and not have to maintain separate projects. With Media Composer, I can work in the same project with as many other people who can connect to the same Unity partitions or whatever at the same time. As long as we don’t need to save to the same bin, it’s fine. I wish I could do that with Final Cut too.

Ultimately, the listed changes range from interesting and useful (background rendering, 64-bit support) to big old meh (labeling sections of clips). Will it drive me away from Final Cut? No. It still does a lot of things well, like handling a bazillion different file formats and sizes all at once, applying effects (but not titles, the title tool sucks balls), and, uh, actually, those two things are it. I prefer Media Composer, but Final Cut has its place. Will I be purchasing this upgrade? Absolutely, but you’ll have to pry the Avid from my cold, dead hands.

Announcing! YAY!

I very very rarely talk about what I do for a living here. Most of my work-talk is concerned with the things I’m doing for myself, i.e., writing, photos, music, films, &c. &c. Well, I’ve been talking about it and thinking about it for a long time, but I’ve finally gotten something put up at, which is a huge relief because it makes the business cards I got a year and a half ago valid now. Fun! Click the image below to check it out.

Right now it only has my editorial reel on it, but I’ve built it so that I can later add sections for my other creative work. I hope to one day have photos, music, and writing on there as well as editorial. Maybe a director’s reel? Who knows! The possibilities are limitless. Getting this up is a huge weight off my head. I’ve been stressing out about it for a while and I am glad to have it done.

Also, if you are my friend and you have a professional site that I haven’t included in my “Friends” section, hit me up with a link and I’ll gladly add you. I like pimping my friends out. It’s good business.

EightclipAnonymous’ “I The Pro Res Maker”

If you are not involved in production or post-production in any way, this video is going to make about as much sense to you as a binder full of math problems makes to a skunk. However, if, like me, you are involved, please to enjoy this video created at Beast San Francisco on a slow day just before Christmas (you know, that formerly pagan holiday we all just had to suffer through). I don’t know the fellow starring in the video, but I see Connor in there and I know him, so that’s pretty sweet ass and shit. I used to be work compatriots with tese folks before the Great Laying Off of 2009 when we all existed under the name of Filmcore.

Ah, halcyon days of yore.

My favorite line? “You shot 4K, but you’re finishing SD. That doesn’t make any sense, you see.” So fucking true it hurts.