May 2009 Archives
Three weeks ago was the last time I had posted anything up on this site! My oh my. Let's recap, shall we. I've caught up with a lot of movies over the past three weeks, Wolverine, Star Trek, and Terminator Salvation in the theaters, and Takashi Miike's Audition at home. I enjoyed Terminator Salvation, and while I felt that Christian Bale did a good job, I really enjoyed Sam Worthingtons portrayal of Marcus Wright, a fallen man. Some of the effects were top notch, some, not so much. But that's like any popular film these days, with the time crunch that we are given, it's so tough to sometimes pull off quality work. Wolverine was, meh. I enjoyed the actors portraying the characters, but the story as a whole was kinda, blah to me. I'm not familiar with the Wolverine Origins comic, and am not sure how that would have affected me. A couple of the VFX shots were meh as well, but like I mentioned above, that's what happens when you have a short time frame and complicated shots to pull off.
On the vfx front, we're wrapping up Transformers, with a release date of June 24th, about a month away. I'm sure you've seen the trailers for the film, which showcase some of our work. I've lost count of how many shots I completed, I think around 14 or so.. Up from the original 4 or 5 I was slated for. But these numbers always change, artists move on to other shows, contracts finish, and so forth.
Yesterday I met with my student over at OTIS, to go over some Nuke keying methodology, as well as some preliminary discussion on potential senior projects that she might tackle. Overall, it's a good match, she knows what she's doing, eager to learn, and is receiving opportunities at various facilities around Los Angeles to intern! We've got another couple of months together for the VES Mentoring Program, so I think we'll be able to hit her marks and deadlines.
Also in the past three weeks, a topic came up about my extension into visual effects. Basically, it seems, anything I do outside of work at Digital Domain is visual effects related! VFXTalk, VFXWages, VES Mentoring, this blog, and so forth! Yes. It does seem so, doesn't it. I guess when I get into something, I really get into it. While VFXWages is vfx related, I don't spend the majority of my time managing it.
VFXWages is just a subsection of the larger parent company Industry Wages Inc (IWI), which is established as a California S Corp, and has actually nothing to to with VFX at all! VFXWages is just the start of something bigger, a way to get some good feedback and iron out the bugs for a larger database. Recently I've prepared a pitch for VCs that will hopefully give us feedback on the company as a whole, and possibly future financing, to extend our reach into the industries we want dominate. I've been doing a bunch of research on labor forces, foreign markets, and exactly how we can make money doing the site. WolframAlpha was an excellent way to figure out the labor forces of certain countries! Amazing, even better than Google, which I used for my first attempt. After doing some quick research, our market potential for IWI is approximately 1.8billion people, in the following countries; the US, the EU, India, China, Australia, and Japan. That's the number of people that can possibly be employed or are employed in those countries, which might benefit from the services we have to offer. The challenge now is to get them to use our services! I also have a pricing model in mind, but we must wait until the bugs are all worked out and we reach our milestones.
Whoa! Time is really flying this week! A quick recap of the week... Monday we hit the cast and crew screening of Star Trek over on the Paramount lot. I've been following the Star Trek films since The Voyage Home, and while I don't consider myself a trekkie, I do enjoy most of the films set in that universe. This latest incarnation from JJ Abrams was abso-fricking-lutely excellent. It wasn't just a Trek film, but a very well done sci-fi film. It does cater towards general audiences, so you don't need to know the universe in order to enjoy it. From what I recall, there was no mention of dilithium crystals! Some wicked character work by all the main actors, and it was nice to see a Kirk that wasn't Shatner, but still embody Kirks character. I highly recommend seeing the film in a theatre with a good sound system and screen. The Paramount system was most likely THX approved and it was presented digitally. The work that DD did was a fraction of the work that was in most of the film, and I will probably talk about that once the film is seen by more people.
That's the box office take of Wolverine over the weekend. We caught the late show on Saturday night, and it was pretty packed. The question I have for studios is... Did the leaked version a month ago have any effect on the box office take of this movie? Did it pique interest, or not? Will studios use this as a tool to further the agenda that piracy has an effect on movie viewing? 87 million is a hefty number, and it will of course drop next weekend with Star Trek coming out, so they won't be able to compare week after week numbers. I didn't see the pirated copy, but I'm curious if it contained, more of less, the main story.
Tonight we head off to see the cast and crew screening of Star Trek. It's over on the Paramount lot tonight. Should be fun, I'm looking forward to it!
Today Wolverine comes out. Theoretically attached to this film will be a trailer for Transformers 2. If you can't wait, do you want to see the trailer? Head on over to Yahoo to see it and the HD versions. I gotta say, it does look pretty badass. The saturation is turned up to 11, but.. meh, it's on the web. I'm curious as to see what it'll look like in the theatres. Most, but not all, of the work in the trailer was ILM. But back to Wolverine.. My old crewmates at Tippett worked on this film, and I can't wait to see it! I hope it's good! Most of my movie going happens on the weekend, specifically, Sunday morning. It's the cheapest then, and there are virtually no crowds, even on a popular movie weekend!
Late last week I was quickly interviewed by my alma mater up in Vancouver, VFS. It was not about my career, but more about the service we're providing the visual effects, gaming, and creative arts communities with VFXWages. Head on over to the VFS Blog and check it out! Speaking of VFXWages, we broke 3000 users earlier in the week and are slowly creeping upwards. I'm in discussion with AWN and CGSociety to get some advertising done. We've got a little more UI stuff to work on, and once the ads go up, we should be rocking.
This May is going to be an action packed one! Every weekend is going to be busy, and I've got to catch up on my movie going. There's Wolverine this weekend, Star Trek next. Angels & Demons (I hope that doesn't suck) following that and then Terminator:Salvation. Not only those, but I've gotta catch up on movies from earlier in the year! Crank 2, Coraline, Fast and Furious, Knowing, Monsters vs Aliens, Gran Torino, man. There are a lot. This year three of the films I've worked on will be coming out summer! One in May (Star Trek), one in June (Transformers 2), and one in August (GI Joe). I think that might be it for this year. There might be another one in the fall or winter, but I'm fairly sure my next big show will be for next summer. That's sort of the rhyme and reason of post facilities. Work through the fall and winter for the big summer blockbusters.