Knocking the dust off. (And projects that fell apart.)

I think it’s time to start doing this more often. More personally, probably, so also probably less interesting to people in general. So if anyone still reads this, feel free to unsubscribe.

One thing to do, however, is link a few tiny projects that I’ve worked on. Some succeeded, some did not, and that’s okay. This will basically be a longer format of the pinned tweet from my Twitter account.

The last mentioned was in my prior post, Ghosts of the Living Dead, a legal fanedit. Before that I’d mentioned I’d messed around with ScreenLook, which I did a few times in effort to see how much work it would be. Turns out a lot. The response ratio to emails sent to independent creators was abysmal. Finding and emailing enough creators to fill a 30m block was pretty time intensive for someone with a job. Then when my job picked up, I put it on the backburner, from which it has yet to return. And that was 2016ish, I believe.

Crate Hunters

In May of 2019 I’ve took at stab at a more traditional “gamer video” with Crate Hunters.

In the game PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds, teams of players compete against others. Occasionally a crate full of nice gear and good weapons will fall from the sky into the map at a random location. Securing these crates are intended to give you a leg up. Especially a good helmet. With a few wins under our belts, my brother and cousin, with whom I often do most of my online gaming, decided that chasing these crates were “spicier” than competing in a typical way. I recorded a game in which after a certain point we decided to go for every crate we saw, and though only I could record my perspective, I decided to take a shot at adding a tiny bit of production (read: color-coded-to-each-player words on the screen and throw in a cheap gag or two,) to make it a little flashier. I also played around with a few potential openings. The song, which is great, is ANGEL FACE (2) by the Van Buren Brothers. It wasn’t included in the above video because this video was intended to be a placeholder. I waited a few days for the artist to reply, and then made the video showing the options. (I’m big on permission, and they were all for my using it.) But within those few days, that’s why my brother and cousin both decided they didn’t want to play PUBG anymore. Though they also felt the music was too chill. It’s a shame. Regardless it was clear Crate Hunters was dead before it was born.

Baby Driver: Purple Paint Job

Around July of 2019 I finally decided to follow up to an idea, I always wanted to do, a fanedit of Baby Driver, a film whose editing is driven by its music. (See what I did there?) I came up with Baby Driver: Purple Paint Job.

It’s a “5 minute opening clip” because before the film released, the studio released “BABY DRIVER – 6-Minute Opening Clip” to give people an idea of what the film would be. It was a smart move, though I don’t know how well it worked. (I also used a promotional still that was a vertical poster with originally a pink background, squared up and made purple.) I’d initially wanted to re-edit the entire film with a musical theme. I’d considered a general metal theme, Baby Metal (Driver), Southern rap (as the film is set in Atlanta,) and some that now slip my mind. But I did have an idea that stood out. Prince. Of course, that’s a big no-go on YouTube. You get dinged for copyright violation instantly. So Vimeo did the job. The reason it’s ONLY that opening clip, however, is the same reason the sound effects run out very early into it. It’s pretty difficult to source good effects without music already drowning them out. And it’s impossible to remove parts of audio from film. I used a few I could find, but then called it quits before I decided to spend actual money on sound effects completely re-doing Foley effects on the whole film.

The Midnight Son

The Midnight Son is a film trailer I wanted to make (I didn’t want to make an actual film, just the trailer). Sadly that didn’t happen, but I did end up making storyboards for it back in May of 2020.

The name is a play off the summer daylight during the nighttime hours in Alaska. But it was really just an excuse to film Dave, my TV sports anchor that I worked with at the time, in this role. He literally looks like he IS a detective from a noir film. There’s just the small fact that he’s almost always smiling, is a very polite family man, and loves wearing Aloha shirts. Actually, the Aloha shirts thing still works, I think. Especially for that shot of him driving down 4th Avenue at the end. I didn’t have a strong plot in mind. I really just wanted to hit the noir tropes as they’re available in Anchorage, Alaska, and I think that’s very doable. If filmed at night with a heavy blanket of snow and some ice on the ground, with some falling (especially at that scene of the person approaching another to grab their shoulder, which would’ve been filmed at the docks with shipping containers behind Dave with his arm outstretched approaching the camera…) Well, I really think it would’ve worked. Sadly the TV station we worked for was purchased and we were all laid off toward the end of 2020, before it snowed, and before I could make this happen. Shame.

My (Production) Problem with Pro Wrestling

Somewhere in all of this, around 2017, I kinda began to watch pro-wrestling again. It’s a stunt person stage play, it’s great, and I will not be taking questions, unless you’re asking what to watch, when, and where, in which case I’ll gladly help you out. Pro wrestling is better than most other things, but I do have a problem with it. The production. So, I made My (Production) Problem with Pro Wrestling.

The video explains itself really, but in a nutshell the major US wrestling promotions, WWE and AEW, do a poorer job of their TV production than Japan’s NJPW does. With a single Reddit post it got 34.7K views on Vimeo (as of this writing), which is neat. I contest that if I’d been able to upload this to YouTube I’d have gotten well over 100k at launch, and more by now. The reason I wasn’t able to use YouTube is because I used a clip from New Japan Pro Wrestling, and they’re very overbearing about copyright. Now, you might be thinking “but Jeff, this is a clear case of fair use, given its purpose is to compare and contrast with similar production styles (in a favorable light,) as criticism/comment! It’s also only just over a minute of footage from a match that lasted for over an hour, and it betrays no substantial information from this match which could affect other market exploitation of the work! Hell, I’d argue it could only HELP them, given I praise them!” Yes, you might be thinking that, but New Japan Pro Wrestling are, in my assumption given their reaction, not caring about that.

I uploaded it on March 30th of 2021, and New Japan Pro Wrestling had a copyright takedown against it before I even hit “Publish”. So I used Vimeo, like I did with the Baby Driver trailer above. I submitted a counter-claim immediately, and YouTube sent the reply to NJPW, which was supposed to have some set time to reply. About two weeks I believe. They did. The site tells me that. But YouTube has still yet to issue a ruling, over six months later. Sigh.

/edit: They did eventually clear it! On October 29th, 2021, seven months later! Whew.

This Blog

So, that’s a few ideas I’ve kicked out. I’ve got a list of about 30 more things I’d like to make of varying sizes, budgets, and viabilities. Games, things to write, podcasts. Who knows. But one thing I’d like to do is write more in general, and that’ll include blogging/journaling. So this place will likely be getting a lot more personal. I don’t expect anyone to read it, and that’s fine. But I do want to write it. I think taking the time to process it and getting it out will help me, and that’s what this is for. This, the writing, is for me.


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I would watch a “Shadow of the Colossus” film. Here’s my pitch.

This post was initially written on May 27th, 2012. I’m sure that’s when the news broke that Shadow of the Colossus had been optioned for a film. Obviously that didn’t happen. But for no real reason other than to put something here, I’m going to revise it once tonight and press “Publish”.

The only way I care to see it working is with little speaking for the majority of the film. And I don’t mean this will become Quest for Fire, or even Once Upon A Time in the West. Having long stretches with little speaking totally worked for Cast Away, and that was a $90 million Hollywood film with Tom Hanks. (And in revision, how great was Mad Max: Fury Road? It cost $150 million.)

What’s important is how the visual storytelling and the tone are handled, and to that end, I know exactly who I want to take this endeavor with. I want to see (at least the non-action scenes) it directed by Andrew Dominik, with cinematography by Roger Deakins. The two previously worked together on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. If you haven’t seen it, that movie IS the very concept of amazing cinematography encapsulated in celluloid. Their work, what they got from those actors and the world they were in, made the moments without words some of the best in that film. Hell, the film even made a narrator work exceptionally well (though, I wouldn’t want that here.) Admittedly, I can’t say how they’d handle a CG-extravaganza with certainty, I don’t have many reservations.

That said, also, you’d have to cut down the number of colossi, obviously. No more than four. Sure, we could do a montage, but no one wants that. Though I suppose you could put more on the “Insanely Long Director’s Experience” version, if they’re feeling ballsy, and want to create the lore of, say, Apocalypse Now. (There’s a poor quality workprint that rabid fans watch that has 87 minutes of footage that wasn’t even included in Apocalypse Now Redux, totaling almost 5 hours!) But at that rate, do a TV show, right?

The beautiful shots of scenery in The Assassination of Jesse James and the characters existing in them offer a wonderful place to start. Begin with our introductory journey as shown in the game, traveling to a land with the body of a woman over his horse. Our protagonist converses with Dormin, but at a fountain inside the temple. Wander holds up his sword, determines the direction to travel, and speaks to Agro a little as he journeys; traversing environmental challenges when… We meet our first colossus.

Wander finds a grassy plain and in the shadow of the canyon, finds his sword doesn’t pinpoint the location of the colossus. Not seeing him, he climbs a onto a large stone. He hears rumbling, and sees a shift in the ground some distance off, then suddenly the statue he’s on lurches into the air, and he flies off! Yes, it was part of the sword in the colossus’ hand that Wander was resting on. The rumbling in the distance was part of the colossus’ foot becoming unearthed. It was asleep and the earth settled around it probably decades ago.

The fight could be amazing. If you’ve played the game I don’t think I even have to lay out how well the drama could be handled. But if not, watching our hero Wander climb up a massive beast as it struggles and attempts to shake him off is a glorious feeling in the game, and I’m sure a good director could convey that to video well. And each time Wander wins, something comes from the colossus, and he wakes at the temple, in the fountain, confused. Sleepily he asks Agro why he brought him back here. He runs a hand over the hair of the woman’s body he left in the temple. He tells Agro “you brought me back to her”, and that she won’t be waking up again. He checks his sword and sets out. Now he’s slightly weaker, and hungry. Wander trails a lizard climbing a tree with his bow, but sees a sole piece of fruit hanging from it, and shoots it down instead. Good.

Cut to Lord Emon discovering Wander has stolen a mysterious sword and left for the forbidden land. He sends words for a hero of the kingdom to be dispatched immediately, and calls for his troop of personal guards to be prepared. Wander travels through the remains of a decayed colosseum where he finds, fights, and kills another colossus. This time we watch as Wander pointlessly attempts to fight off the darkness that spews from the fallen colossus, then falls unconscious. He wakes coughing up water in the fountain again. He cries at the body of the woman he brought to the temple. Wander uses Agro to help him hunt and eat a large lizard. He cooks it, but it’s not great. It’s edible, but it tastes bad.

He finds another colossi, this one near a beach, in loose sands. It looks like a snake with wings, it flies, and with a force that shakes the ground, it dives into and out of the sand as if it were water. The third time he kills a colossus he bursts from the water on his last breath violently sick, puking up cups of dark viscous murk, visibly pale and cold. He heaves himself over the edge of the fountain and climbs on Agro again. He checks the reflection of light from his sword and sets out again for his next challenge. We follow him this time, traversing the natural obstacles he’s faced. Lord Emon’s Hero arrives at the temple, and seeks him out, trying to stop him, but Wander wins the fight. Lord Emon arrives at the temple, where the guards find sign of the Hero on the hunt. Lord Emon says they should stay there, and guard the fountain inside the temple.

Wander crosses the bridge, and sees the final colossus. (Yes, that thing that happened by this point has happened.) Wander tries to approach the colossus, but is almost killed by it when the Hero saves him! Wander does not take this lightly, killing the Hero, and showing no remorse. Then he conquers the colossus. When there’s a loud boom and darkness erupts into the sky, Lord Emon and his troops at the temple notice even at their distance. A moment later there’s a slight whine, and then a huge splash into the fountain behind them. Wander has landed.

From here, well, the game plays out.


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