Prayers to Kieran

My amazing DP and good friend Kieran Murphy was air lifted to the hospital after a bad lacrosse accident. He’s in my prayers for a quick and full recovery. I know he’ll be out kicking ass soon.

Sensory Deprivation Tank

The other night I decided to go to a Sensory Deprivation Tank at at the Floatation Location in Venice. (http://www.floatationlocation.com/).

It was $50 for 90 minutes. I figured I would last about 45.

After I arrived I met with the owner and discussed what I wanted to achieve. Then he led me into the room.

The Tank looked like this

I showered and got in, closed the hatch. Pure darkness. Is this an episode of LOST?

It was very trippy at first. I felt… weird. My head was floaty and my senses were all messed up. There is 800 lbs of salt dissolved in the water which is about 2 feet deep. Because of all the salt you float on top. I spent at least 15 minutes getting my heart rate down while wiggling around a lot.

After playing around a bit I let my brain do what it wanted. At first that was thinking about all the ‘what if’s’ IE what if there was an earthquake? Or a spider in the tank? Is this tank clean? Why’s the water so slimy? etc. Then I got itchy. My nose would itch, id scratch then my leg, id scratch… Mind over matter. Find the zen. Don’t let anything bother you. The itchyness soon went away.

My thoughts raced to a time before memory, when I was in the womb. This was like my own, larger womb. There was something comforting and… insightful about it. It was at this point that I had some great realizations about my life. I let my brain dump out all these thoughts which i knew was necessary to get to the theta state.

Even though the salt supports your body I found it hard to get comfortable at some points. I experimented with different positions. Ultimatley just laying with hands to the side is the best bet. The point is to not be able to tell the difference between body, water and air. You are all one.

I became self aware of what I was doing – I am supposed to be in here to be calm, let my mind and body relax and get into the theta state…. Push those thoughts out, bring in calm, bring in nothing. Relax….

Suddenly I was in a dream. But I was awake. Theta. Then i stopped breathing. I didn’t want to leave. Of course breathing is fairly essential function. Back to being self aware.

I went back to the original state of wiggling around. Then back to the dream like world. Then more wiggling around. Repeat a few times.

For a long while i was squirmy and sort of ‘over it. I couldn’t settle down and thought I might be done. I figured I’d been in for 30 minutes. I opened the hatch to let in some air and decided I’d give it one last go.

I went into a deep relaxed mediative state for a while. At this point I had some visuals both open and closed eye. Nothing too interesting mostly just patterns and shapes flashing around.

And then all of the sudden an hour and a half was up. They single that your time is up by playing calm music in the underwater speakers. I was wearing ear plugs so I couldnt hear any outside sounds, but I could hear the music. I couldn’t believe it. I thought for sure the guy had messed up. There was no way I had been in there for so long.

I got out, and sure enough it was 7:45. I showered, got dressed, and left the room. I talked to the guy about my experience – about being self aware and taking a while to get into the state, etc. He said that i had a very common first experience. He explained that the next time I go I will get into that state much quicker since I know what to expect and how it works. By the third time you are very well ‘trained’.

All in all a great experience. I learned some things about myself, had some great thoughts and came out very relaxed.

For $100 you get 3 sessions and I think I may do that and try to go 3 times a month.

Amazing

Wow. What a day. No time now to put all the thoughts down but Wow – Everything was damn near perfect. Actors on point. Amazing crew. Practical effects on fire.

This was one of the best days of my life.

One more half day tomorrow then we are wrapped. Ill try and report back on the entire thing Monday.

Paving the Way for Internet TV

Oh, Internet Video. What a crazy, crazy beast you are!

Despite the new found public awareness, Internet Video is nothing new. Video content has been online for almost ten years. Back in the day it was crude and took forever to download. But it was also the start of Something Big.

I first uploaded my short films while in high school. Other young film makers watched and commented on them on the website LikeAStory (Ten points if you remember that site). Some knew back then that this was going to be important. Those in the porno industry were the first to fully adopt the new technology. They moved things along nicely in terms of compression and quality, but it took a while for the rest of the world to get computers and high speed Internet. Now, the state of the Internet, the Internet audience and Entertainment in general are all lined up and ready for the future. Hollywood is finally ready to step up.

Santa Claus is not going to drop off “Internet TV” one night to the children of the world. Like all other new mediums, it is going to evolve into something, that in 5 to 10 years, people will ask how they ever lived without. Two things are happening simultaneously that will eventually converge to create TV of the Future – The content and the hardware;

Production companies, headed by some big Hollywood names, are investing money to produce original online content. These shows are in a very early stage. They will be laughed at in five years when the full potential of Internet TV is realized. But they are absolutely vital in these infant years. They are demonstrating to the Internet public that an online series can work.

It’s “The Next Big Thing”.

At present, these original online shows are separate from what the established networks and Apple are doing. The major networks have their shows available on their websites and/or through iTunes in a half assed attempt to follow the trend. Until they are released in full screen and full quality the networks will have no chance of competing with what is coming. Apple, on the other hand, is following their software/hardware model they learned from the iPod to a T. Control the content and create the hardware and you are sure to make money.

The worlds of Apple TV and original online content will soon collide, bringing a new wave of Entertainment to the TV and Computer Screen. Right now there is no good option to find quality original online content. The content is scattered all over the Internet on Social Networking sites like MySpace and Facebook and Video Sites like YouTube, Revver and any other of the over 150 similar video portals. While there is not a lot of high quality content available, one of the major issues is that there is not an iTube sort of application to easily locate this new programming. Once more high quality content comes out, an easy way to find it all will be released. Then you can either beam it to your TV (By this time Apple will not be the only name in the game) or just watch it on your computer.

Sites like YouTube will forever be known as housing low quality content. A new name will emerge to be the central location for high quality content… A site similar to a cable Network that acquires content and pairs it up with advertisements. Once all of this happens, people will begin to throw out their cable boxes and tell Time Warner to fuck off (Words most of us have been dying to say for ages). This brings up a few major issues;

Bandwidth: If everyone gets their TV via the Internet we are going to need some large pipes and fast connections. That means we might need Time Warner’s services after all. That means they still have some control in all of this. And that makes the Internet not so Free. Which brings us to point two,

Regulation: The Internet is still fairly lawless. Once the masses are getting TV distributed via the Internet, however, I am sure the FCC will have a thing or two to say. For the next couple years I suspect (and encourage) a wave of very rash programing that will make South Park look like Sesame Street. Thats a good thing. Not to say the viewing public wants programming full of swears, sex and gallons of blood, but giving artists complete creative freedom with absolutely zero restrictions on content can create some incredible things.

There is a lot to figure out, but a very promising future lies ahead of us. It is up to us, the pioneers, to ensure that it is done correctly. It is up to us to make sure the same mistakes are not made like in the heyday of TV. Internet Based TV (And film) is a BIG deal. It’s the biggest thing going on in the Entertainment business. Those who look the other way now will be left in the dust as the future rolls over them.

In Response to “I want my Internet TV”

The Drunken Philosopher gave a lengthy reply to my short article last week. It is front page worthy, so am pasting it in here.

My one thought before I do – What happens when Apple is the new king of content? Do we want them to have the lock? Lets get some heavy competition going. iTunes is not the end all be all. Bad things happen when one person controls entertainment.

  1. The Drunken Philosopher Says:
    The future is here, and it goes by the name of iTunes. I remember reading somewhere that The Office would almost undoubtedly have been canceled if it hadn’t quickly become an immensely successful show on iTunes. Now with AppleTV, it’s really simple to watch all that content on your TV. I covered most of this territory already.Is it perfect? No. But it’s pretty damn good.The price point is a bit high, perhaps. You get to keep the episodes forever, but how many of those will you actually re-watch?–Actually, more than a few. South Park? Infinitely re-watchable. As was Arrested Development, if only it had been unleashed on iTunes. Even the older seasons of 24 are finally getting to the point where I can watch again and they feel fresh and exciting. But really, $24 for a season of commercial-free, watch-it-when-I-like South Park? Worth it.Perhaps Apple should explore the idea of ad-supported downloads in order to subsidize part/all of the download cost. iTunes is, more or less, the perfect medium through which to serve video ads; essentially a closed ecosystem, it would be possible to force a fullscreen ad to the top of a downloader’s screen at the time of downloading, then make them wait and click another button or enter a code or something after downloading ends, to start the download. Of course, that sort of system can always be gamed, so it’s probably a fools errand to try and implement it. And there’s always product placement to make up for some of the advertising revenue.

    Of course, the real dark horse could be streaming. I could totally envision a system where, for an extremely discounted rate (vs. the current cost of downloading) you are allowed to stream currently running shows for a limited amount of time. once you’ve paid your fee, just press a button on your AppleTV and-bingo-you’re watching last week’s 30 Rock. Charge $.99 per episode, or half that if you buy a season streaming pass. If they are smart–and Steve Jobs is no dummy–they’ll set up a way to make these purchases with the click of your AppleTV remote. Unfortunately, this level of functionality isn’t available yet, but it’s just a firmware update away.

    That’s the only real way that I see the price coming down in any significant manner. Problem is, iTunes currently competes more directly with Best Buy than they do with Time Warner-it’s all about replacing DVDs, not your not-so-friendly cable-tv provider. But they want to change that; AppleTV makes this desire clear, especially the wording of its marketing: “With AppleTV, Anytime is Primetime”. And if they really want to change it, they really, really need to start streaming current-run shows for a nominal fee. That way,they aren’t really at risk of cannibalizing the download sales. You can pick and choose: if you’d want to re-watch a show, you can still pay to download.

    Thus far, I’ve focused almost exclusively on the issue of cost, but there are other imperfections in the iTunes TV system, as it currently stands. For instance, no HBO shows. But if Apple plays their cards right, really gets behind AppleTV and creates an indispensable new paradigm for TV-content distribution… then it’s only a matter of time until HBO gets their act together and puts their shows on iTunes. Maybe at a higher price, but I’d pay 4 or 5 bucks per episode to download The Wire or Entourage, or 2 bucks to stream them.

    (N.B. Now that I’ve taken the time to write out this lengthy diatribe, I think I’ll have to also use it as a stand-alone post back on Drunken Philosopher)

New short film

Here is my latest film, Sunrise. It’s a 3 minute short shot here in Santa Monica. I’ll post the script if anyone wants to read it.

Andrea, the male lead, will be on ‘Til Death’ this Thursday so be sure to check him out there as well.

It was shot during morning magic hour (Around 6am) on a DVX-100a, edited on FCP.

Between web compression, YouTube and shooting by the ocean without a boom mic, some people are reporting it hard to hear every line that is said. Here is the diag. Again, if there are requests I’ll post the original script (which is a bit different).

Girl: What are you doing
Guy: I must be lost!
Girl: Did you take a turn a wrong turn into the ocean?… Where you headed?
Guy: Italy
Girl: Yah, that makes sense … you pack light
Guy: Most of my life is in storage
Girl: I know a great guy in storage
Guy: So did my wife.
Girl: Oh, is she is storage too?
Guy: More or less
Girl: I’m not having sex with you.
Guy: What?…. Good talking to you.
Girl: I could have him killed… Mr. Storage… Whoever he is.
Guy: Who says I want anyone killed?
Girl: Your eyes
Guy: Thats the salt from the ocean
Girl: Just say it
Guy: Say what
Girl: Say what… Don’t just throw away two years.
Guy: I’m sorry… I was wrong.
Girl: The next time you try to swim home, I’m going to let you
Guy: Now that I said sorry, will you do my laundry?
Girl: Yes, the joys of marrying a man in the self storage buisness
Guy: I hate you
Girl: I hate you too.