February 23, 2011


This probably isn't the last time I'll shamelessly plug his work (and probably not the only time it will come with a measure of self interest for me, ha!), but the very talented Matt Bors (illustrator of David Axe's "War Is Boring," among other great things) managed to incorporate my humble personage into one of his cartoons this week. Score!

For those paying attention at home, Mr. Bors also designed the poster art for my short film "Forget Me Not:"

(more "Forget Me Not" images here!)

February 22, 2011

DSLR Blues.

The DSLR format is a tricky beast. If I told you how much time I've spent in the last few weeks making wish lists and shopping carts at Amazon and B&H, not to mention the forums, blogs, rumor mills, and tech sites I've scoured, it would disappoint you greatly. Even if you don't know me, you would think to yourself, "really, Matt? Is any of this behavior necessary?"

You must understand: I'm constantly at fault for trying to quantify the unquantifiable. I'm like Don Quixote that way. I've titled at so many windmills, friends.

Journalists, tech experts, professional filmmakers and photographers, and just about anyone with a brain is aware that the Canon 5D Mark III, whenever it comes, will likely be the definitive tool for indie filmmakers for at least the next year or three. Coincidentally, that's the time in which I'll be making at least one feature film. The exceptional value of the Mark II seemed to catch Canon by surprise, so (unless that company is run by morons) they should be poised to take advantage of an incredible demand for an even greater filmmaking tool.

It's also nice that I'm overdue for a revived interest in still photography. The fact that I can invest in a single set of tools to accomplish both things is incredible.

In light of that (do I intend puns like this? Perhaps), I decided to purchase a 7D, knowing that it's a temporary acquisition. I have video work, not to mention a backlog of still photography ideas I haven't touched in years, that are not smart to shelve. Not for the 2-12 months it may take the Mark III to hit the streets, anyway. A 7D body is inexpensive, still re-sellable whenever the Mark III arrives, still professional quality, and still (presumably) allows me to gather lenses, memory cards, batteries, and other accessories that I won't have to replace. Also, contrary to what the haters say, you can actually make a good film on a DSLR. Just ask my pal Stephen.

So that's that. When it arrives, I'll probably gush all about it here. I'm also likely to post a bunch of ridiculous self portraits and videos of my cats.

February 19, 2011

gear gear gear gear gear (and more gear!)

I can think of nothing better to blow my tax return on than a HDSLR from Canon, even with the knowledge that the model I buy will be nearly obsolete by the end of 2011.

There are many to choose from these days, but at some point I have to make an investment and start shooting. While gear is just gear, and is no replacement for story, emotion, and other great aesthetic qualities, the truth is that professional equipment exists for a reason, and I want to create professional quality material (whether for freelance gigs or my own narrative work). To many camera snobs, an HDSLR is laughably quaint and pointless, or at least trendy and abhorrent.

To them I say: go fuck yourselves, because the technology has radically democratized the indie filmmaking community, and it's something I choose to embrace. and HDSLR is absolutely capable of professional results, if you aren't a complete moron when you use it.

As with nearly every amateur, professional, and professional amateur in the least two years, I'm debating between the 5d mark II and the 7D. The beauty of these new generation cameras is that while the filmmaking-aspects may have a built in shelf life, the still-camera aspects will remain incredibly robust, and perfectly suitable for professional applications. Also, the glass I buy (a mid-range "L" series zoom is my first choice) is something that'll last for decades if I treat it right.

With having to keep computer power, data storage, camera support equipment, and software licenses reasonably up to date, It's much harder to invest in hardware than one would think. Especially for newcomers like me. But stories don't tell themselves, and I have no interest in waiting around for some magical product that'll transform me into an overnight success. Success comes with work, and work in my field takes gear, and this gear is the best I can get right now.

At the end of the day, shooting is better than not shooting, whether it's on a Bolex, a piece of shit Hi-8 from 1992, or a RED. That's the only lesson I care to learn right now.

February 10, 2011

More Extreme Hospitality.

I found out this morning that the video I shot last month for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants helped the Chicago restaurants won the 'Extreme Hospitality' competition. 50 restaurant Executive Chefs and General Managers across the country voted, and Chicago came out at #1. Goodness!

This may mean some "props" for yours truly, but definitely means employees of the five Chicago restaurants get an expenses-paid party. If you aren't familiar with how the restaurant industry works, that's a euphemism for an evening of booze, food, and debauchery on the corporate dime. Double win!

February 1, 2011

Ye Olde Chicago Blizzard Of Twenty-Eleven.

People just love to discuss the weather. I am not one of those people, just as I am not one to discuss professional sports, traffic patterns, or other ephemera of boring, white Americans. It's like, guys, this white stuff falls from the sky every single year in Chicago.

I have to backtrack a little. It's true, I think weather and sports are boring, but at the same time I really love listening to people take things seriously. Anything, really. For all the time I spent as a kid feeling terrified about how geeky my brain was, I now realize that we are all geeky. The difference is A) what we're geeky about, and B) how often we geek-out.

For a real geek, singular events are not enough to sustain interest. The things I am geeky about are on my mind at all times. They are a filter through which I see everything. What a real geek detests are fair-weather geeks (or in this case, bad-weather geeks). If you're only going to care about something once a year, why care at all?

Admittedly: does the difference matter, in the grand scheme of things? Absolutely not.

But I think life is better as a geek, or at least if one is prone to take at least one thing in life far, far too seriously. Fabrics, politics, the Detroit Tigers, old movies, old buildings, food... literally anything. I was raised with an NES controller in my hands, and while I barely find the time to play video games these days, the attitude remains: Life is better when dissected, strategized, optimized, and "won." Even if someone vehemently disagrees with me about something, the fact that they take the same issue so seriously is refreshing and fun.

To summarize, it's not the blizzard talk that's annoying, it's the fact that the people talking about the blizzard don't talk about the weather all the time. For that weirdo in your office who studies the weather every day, has his own satellite feed, and may even know the weather for places he's never actually visited? I want to hear him talk about the blizzard.