Monday, September 29, 2008

Star Wars, Jesse's Special Edition

I know George is working on updating the Star Wars films for 3D release in theatres, but I think the films need an update before they come out on 2D Blu-Ray Disc. Here are my changes for the first disc release:

Episode IV, 2008 Edition

Opening Scene

In 1977 the opening shot of Star Wars was shocking. Nothing like it had ever been done in sci-fi cinema history. Unfortunately it shows it's age a little. George did a great update to that shot for an IMAX film about special effects. I'm going to go ahead and use that shot to open the new cut. The first thing we see needs to show us how huge and powerful the Empire really is.

Introduce Luke Properly
Let's cut from that space battle to Luke watching it in his binoculars on the surface of Tatooine. Then show him talking to his friend Biggs, who is about to leave him behind and join the rebels. (C'mon George, you shot this stuff, and it creates character and setting so well!)

Troopers Pursue Droids
Storm Troopers on big lizards isn't really working. The special edition ones look SO fakey, and the ones in the original film are such a minor point we could just work around it. Perhaps replace them with modified AT-STs or speeder bikes. This would also re-enforece the Empire's dependance of technology as a theme.

Mos Eisley
In the special edition you show what feels like several minutes of plotless crowd scenes around Mos Eisley. We're in an alien city; we get it already! I'm cutting this down to two establishing shots. No jawa falling off of an alien giraffe, no robot picking up a stick and hitting another robot with it, etc.

Han Solo's Introduction
Let's just correct the line about parsecs already! You corrected the "I want those tapes" line (like they'd be using tapes in that world!), why not update your other most remembered gaffe?

Also, I'll take this opportunity to second the already cliche requests to leave the Greedo scene as it was in '77. In my cut Han shoots first, and he seems like a dangerous bad-ass because of it.

We're also gonna lose Han talking to Jabba the Hutt. The conversation exactly matches the one Han just had with Greedo, and this CG Jabba isn't working. It's sloppy film-making, and we're going to cut it for time and clarity.I'm willing to put a new scene in here where we write slightly different lines for Han to respond to, and put someone other than Jabba into the scene. Perhaps we encounter yet another bounty hunter for another short exchange of pleasantries.

Luke Practicing with his Light Saber
The rotoscoping on the saber is really bad here. Go back to the master negatives and have someone re-do the glowing blade using modern techniques. While you're at it, you can replace the floating practice thingie with a more clever and dynamic machine. These are the places to let your team play with updating the film - not major scenes that were already working!

Interrogation of Princess Leia
The floating ball with a needle is kinda scary, but it's clear it's on a stick, and the noise that accompanies it is goofy. Replace it with a new all CG floating medical droid. Show multiple 'tools' on board this menacing machine, and have it rotate a collection of implements, ending with a needle. Now we've got tension!

The Destruction of Alderan
Show several establishing shots of the cities and people of this once beautiful planet. Show us, for a few heartbreaking seconds, what we are losing when the Death Star is tested on this planet. This will help us cut down on the 12 seconds of helmeted guys pushing buttons and moving levers you had in there before.

Escape from the Death Star
Obi Wan climbing on that tower to shut down power to the tractor beam is kind of cool, but the mechanism of the tower isn't very clear. I'm adding a layer of new CG to extend and adjust the scene and show that Obi Wan has climbed up to this remote power coupler by some unknown method. The audience will ponder if he used some as yet unseen Jedi powers to climb the device. The tower itself will look more like those pulsing energy things from Episode 1.

When Obi Wan confronts Darth Vader we have several problems to cover. Firstly, the rotoscoping on the sabers is, yet again, lousy. We're going back to the source master film stock and redoing the glow effects. Also, the battle isn't very exciting. Neither actor seems to be able to actually fight very well. I suggest we get stunt doubles and expand this battle to seem more impressive. The fight should not be as dramatic as those seen in the prequels, but closer to what we see in episodes V and VI. Darth should even be seen causing objects to fall or float towards Obi Wan during the expanded fight.

The Trench Run
When the rebel pilots are being briefed we see a 2D vector graphic info-graphic of the trench run. In '77 this was stunning stuff, but it needs an update. I'm replacing the flat screen with a 3D projection like we see in other films. It floats in the air, and parts of it are over the front row of pilots. It is still done in spare white wireframe style, but updated.

Pilot HUD computers in the TIE fighters and the X-Wings look a little dated. They both could use some updating with inserted graphics. Otherwise this sequence is looking good.

My total budget for the proposed changes would be less than 3 million. In one case need a short VO session with Harrison Ford, and possibly new VO from James Earl Jones. We'll need a voice-alike for Obi Wan Kenobi, and two stunt performers to do a new saber battle. The saber battle will be done in mo-cap CG, and the characters will not be seen in CU during these new fight sequences. We'll also have to do some rotoscoping from old live-action shots of Obi-Wan and Darth.

The rest of my changes are low cost CG inserts, and I'm sure we can line up first rate talent since Star Wars is such a special title. It deserves a higher quality of meddling than it has received up until now.

Palin's Song

(a parody of Don't You Want Me?)

You were working as a governor of some northern state
When we met you
He picked you out and briefed you some and then turned you loose—
He said it’s what a maverick would do
Now five weeks later on you’ve stuck your foot in your mouth
The electorate is questioning you
We won’t forget your boss’ lack of judgment soon
Even though you want us to

No, we don’t want you
You know I can’t believe it when you won’t pay for that rape kit
No, we don’t want you
You know I don’t believe you when you want to sell us moose-shit

You’ll wake up soon to find, red states have changed their minds
But if they don’t change soon then we will all be sorry

Don’t you want me country? Don’t you want me, ohhhhh
Don’t you want me country? Don’t you want me, ooohhhh

I was working as a governor in the great white north
That much is true
I’d banned some books, I’d shot some moose, I’d had lots of kids
I did what made-up bull-dogs do
These five weeks in the fall have really opened my eyes
(what’s the VP do?)
Just give me one more chance and let me change the landscape
I’d like to paint the white house, too

Don’t you want me country? Don’t you want me ohhhh
Don’t you want me country? Don’t you want me ohhhh

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Wife as the Mona Lisa

I chose Sumi as my medium because although I have no talent for it – Japan is the first matriarchal society I can remember.

So torn twixt two purpose is the modern woman. Power and success in career juxtaposes supple succor and amongst those two proud shoulders are her yielding breasts – lending nourishment to either goal and so floats between them. The mighty river flows ever forward. It is power and unrelenting and the tall bamboo bend ing yet nurturing and stalwart and perfect in the Universe.

Also, rice paper doesn’t scan very well.

Friday, September 26, 2008

September Assignment

“How would you have done it?” Good question, eh? I'm sure you seen, heard, read, experienced something before and thought about how it would have come out if you'd been the one pulling the strings. Here's your chance. Derivative works. Forgeries. Pastiches or parodies. All are welcome.

Aaaaaannnnnnnndddd, Go!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

M T frame

This little video uses a large portion of my photography collection...

Friday, August 29, 2008

August Challenge

This month's challenge coincidentally coincides with a concept I was casually conscious of just yesterday.

Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite frame

If the contents are empty, can having a nice wrapper still make it "OK?" Can you take joy from the dressing, and through such joy, give value to the plain subject?

Dunno. Let's try.

The usual bits apply. See you soon!

Monday, July 28, 2008


I tried to come up with all sorts of funny or elegant representations of the simplest solution, but then i asked myself, how i can i deliberately twist Chuck's words? The simplest solution, is, in fact, Saline. 0.9%, to be precise.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

For a song...

Came up with this song when I was in the shower today. Pure coincidence that it happens to be in 11. Really.

oldie but goodie

Bailing wire is like an old friend.
Its there when you need it and
I guess bailing hay when you don’t?
Anyway, those damn dogs wont get out this time.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Look down, bottom right hand corner. Next to the V in vimeo you'll see an icon with 4 arrows. Maximize first, then play. Please.

Simple Solution from entropos loc on Vimeo.

July Challenge

In the words of Warren Ellis, "Be Short, Be Bold, and Get It Done." That pretty well sums up the spirit of Phinal Phridays.

So without further adieu, the July Assignment:

This month's Oblique Strategy reads "What is the simplest solution?"

Hey, that ties in with Warren's quote nicely.

So give me something simple. Simple need not be minimal, just not unnecessarily complex. If that means going overboard at first and paring it away to what you need? Do that. Or if it means starting small and adding one bit at a time until adding one more bit would push it over the edge, that works too.

Submissions due sometime on Sunday, preferably.

Go to it!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More Mecha than Org

Our lives are reduced to electronic impulses stabbing at our eyes and wrecking our sense of reality in the form of email.

Gone are the days when it would be normal to not hear from someone for a few days at a time. And gone is the singularity of personality. Now we occupy many personae and it all depends on what electronic goal or piece of Taintia Majoria attached to we seek to erstwhile probe.

When you walk up to a person, like an actual person (as opposed to K-Mart manikins or Bob Costas I suppose) its pretty freaky to think about all of the bizarre perversions they hide inside of their actual reality, their electronic one. Most of the people you meet have probably seen a chimp drink its own pee like a water fountain. And those of you who haven't just clicked on that link so the cycle is complete.

Fifteen year old sex kittens and half off snowboarding mittens, terabytes of vacation photos with you tube videos and a Panda blowing its nose. STOP.

The ultimate idiosyncrasy, the breadth of our own reality, no longer exists solely in 3 dimensional space, it is a tangled mass of fiber optic cable and switches. Instantaneous gratification is all the rage. I didn't check my email for a week and I had 50 messages. Several were asking if I was "OK." No, I'm not OK.

I'm friggin three days late posting to the PHUI blog and didn't even know it.

Um. wait. What week is it?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mechanicalizing the Idiosyncratic: Habit

Writer sits, pile of paper on her left side, ashamed of what’s she’s created

The motion is repetitive but irregular, jerky and tense and waiting

Trying to find the right word, the right phrase, then yanking it violently out of her head.

Smoothing the irregularities. But they’ll grow back, tufted and irritating and embarrassing

People see the process but not the result. Wonder what she’s doing.

The right words are never smooth. They are kinked and bent and spiraly, squiggling out of her hand. Too short sometimes to grasp at first, but she always comes back. She gets them out.

The ones she can feel.

Many more remain, unexplored, on the right side. She needs that side for work. All the worry and frustration and fear comes out on the left. The pile of papers on the left. On the couch. On the carpet. On the table. Thrown away in an embarrassed, disgusted gesture.

Two tufted twirls. Sinister spirals. Stressful semester.

Sometimes she doesn’t type for days. For weeks. But always returns to the typewriter unconsciously. Banging out the words jerkily until someone reminds her

Of all the other things that need doing.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Mechanicalized brain of Nicola Tesla (in a jar)

Our hero has been reduced to mechanical version of his former self through pride and terrible decisions-making. At first he does not understand what has happened. He finds he can haltingly control a mechanical claw where once he had arms. His brass eye stalks slide in and out as his mind struggles to learn how his new optics work. They are not nearly as finely milled as the natural eyes he once owned. He looks around to see a featureless place. Only one item is there. It lies in front of him. His body, if it can be called that, lurches toward the fuzzy outline of an object on the floor. After several minutes he manages to control each degree of freedom on his mechanical limb. He stretches it out and plucks the out-of-focus prize. It is only when the item is placed close enough to his nearsighted lenses that he realizes what it is and recoils in horror.

Tesla had many idiosyncrasies. None were more amusing to me personally than his fear of spherical objects.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mechanicalizing the Idiosyncratic... a wallpaper

Here's a 1024x768 of my interpretation of the first Phinal Phriday challenge. Kind of rushed, as I'm leaving town in the morning and didn't know if I'd have time for something bigger. Scanner-as-camera is fun.

A Little Cheerleading

Just a reminder, we're not looking for perfection in Phinal Phriday responses—this is about getting your creative juices flowing. You're not going to write the next great American novel in one weekend. But you might write a loose, fun, short story, or have a seed of an idea that you just have to jot down, perhaps to be expanded upon later, perhaps not.

Don't sweat the quality. Much like NaNoWriMo the goal is to get you (and me) doing rather than thinking.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Phirst Phinal Phriday!!!

Is it Friday yet? Eh, close enough. So sharpen your pencils, dust off your vocal chords, get that sand out of your eyes and get ready to do something creative.

Your challenge for this weekend?

Mechanicalize something idiosyncratic

Easy, no?

Interpret that HOWEVER you want. Give me a song. A short story. A film. A poem. A drawing. SOME creative output that somehow either expresses that concept, or reflects it, or bends it into a tight knot that you'd have to gnaw at with your teeth to undo.

If I've already got you on the author list, you've got until some time late Sunday to submit your entries to this blog by logging in to and creating a post on the Phinal Phriday blog. If you're not an author yet, let me know you want to be one, and I'll get you hooked up when I can. (I'm leaving town on Saturday and I'm not sure what my net access will be like for the next week or so...)

So, GO!!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Phirst Post

What's Phinal Phriday? Inspired by such artiface as 48 Hour Film Project, Instant Films, Fast & Loose and others, I decided PHUI might be a nice venue to once a month challenge my friends for some creative output.

So the last Friday of each month I'll be posting (and likely emailing prospective participants) a challenge. They'll post their results here by some point that Sunday. Their creations can be anything from comic strips to plays, short films, songs, poems, fiction, or whatever--so long as it keeps with whatever parameters I've thrown at you (or even if they don't... this isn't a contest, so really, no rules).

I'm thinking that all entries should also be licensed under Creative Commons Share-Alike license to encourage building derivative works and collaborative world-building from month to month.

More later.