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The Pre-Pre-Production Come Along of February and March

Posted in Uncategorized on March 29, 2017 by Rathan Krueger

filmmaking1

This and last month have been mostly about gathering info and such I’ll need to pull the trigger on getting investors and their attention. It occurred to me that it would be better for me to have a professional bank account for investors as opposed to just a personal one, and that I should have it before asking them for money. “Look at this established bit of fiscal responsibility waiting for your patronage!” vs “Yeah, it’s going to my bank account… but you can trust me. Really.” Because of that, I didn’t get to tackle much of anything on my checklist.

But I do own a film production company now. I meant to do it a lot sooner (like, when I started this blog), but life kept getting in the way and I wasn’t ready. Professionally or privately. Thanks to creative opportunities that’ve happened since, including everything that Leonardo Fallucca of Artigianale Films has done, I can finally go about building my empire (or at least a fiefdom) wholeheartedly.

How does one go about creating a production company? First, you have to figure out the kind of business it is. There are many, and the lucky one is an LLC, a Limited Liability Company. Look it up, kids. Once you figure that out, you go to a bank that isn’t Bank of America (lest we forget the banking crisis) and find out what you’ll need to open an account for your LLC. The manager will be kind and give you a list. For me, it said that I had to get $100 to open an account, an operating agreement, an EIN number, and one of three things. The one-of-three ended up being one not listed because I didn’t have an LLC yet, an LLC Article of Organization (something for the state). The agreement is basically a declaration of what your business is, and the EIN number is something for the IRS. Both are free and left me feeling good about getting things done. Until the Article. I thought I only had to spend $50 in addition to the $100 because that’s how much one of the three things costed (I chose the Certificate of Assumed Name). But, like I said, the three only applied to opening an account after getting an Article of Organization. I thought that if the Certificate only cost $50, surely the Article couldn’t cost much more.

The universe loves a good joke.

Six hundred dollars. Actually, it was five hundred but the extra Benjamin was a fee I couldn’t get rid of to get my application processed in 24 hours. But wait, there’s more. After looking a few pages ahead, I saw that I also needed a designated agent (a go-to lawyer, basically) who cost $107. And THEN I found out that I had to pay a 2.5% tax on the $600. Y’know, to suck the threading outta the poor bastard that’s my dying wallet. After crying in my beer for a few minutes, I saw the whole process as me asking myself “Are you sure?” Most people would’ve quit after finding out that they needed the fucking $50. To go beyond that and pay whatever the price is meant that you were committing in a big way and that you should be able to laugh off whatever hurdles pop up. Almost a thousand dollars later, I answered: “Fuck yeah.” What’s a few hundred bucks in the face of a lifetime of artistic fulfillment, anyway?

Earlier this week, I became the sole owner of Darkness Opera LLC. Even made a new logo, as you can see in the header.

cropped-darkness-opera-logo1.png

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tortured myself over the years with this design. It was originally much more ornate. The D looked like a decal on the most Gothic wrought-iron fence that ever existed, and the O was a full moon peeking from behind a few clouds (moon imagery was the only thing to survive it all). No katakana (the Japanese symbols under the line). Then I came up with a bunch of designs that resembled late-90s Goth rock album art, one of which was the header here for the longest time. A few days ago, the design up top suddenly came to me and, with the help of a freeware picture editor (Paint.net), I made it. The English font is something that John Carpenter uses a lot in his credits (Albertus). The katakana is a phonetic spelling of the name. In Japanese, a sounds like “ah”, e sounds like “eh”, and o sounds like “owe”. Because of that, I wrote it “da-ku-ne-su-a-pe-ra” instead of “da-ku-ne-su-o-pe-ra”. Subtitle fans might be able to sympathize, but one of the things that takes me out of anime or a Japanese film is when they say an English word how it’s spelled instead of how it’s said (like “opera”). Anywho. The katakana dashes have meaning. They tell you to stress the symbol preceding it. We’d say “DARKness OperA”, and I wanted to reflect that. So it’s “DA-ku-ne-su-A-pe-RA”. Why Japanese? Three reasons. One: Japan’s been a big part of my creative life. Two: I love bilingual anime titles. Three: it makes the logo more worldly. I had to add the quotation mark over “da” and the o over “pe” because the katakana font I used didn’t have them.

I was gonna put a full moon in the center, but that would’ve pushed the Japan of it all into laughable territory. But I wanted to keep the moon in there somehow. Then I made it a crescent, which works on a few levels. It looks like a sinister smile. Like horns. Like a necklace. And the moon is a symbol for femininity, which is fitting since I plan on working predominantly with female characters. The logo as a whole is meant to catch your eye as quickly as possible. There are a fuckton of people begging for your attention, and I feel that my logo does it in an elegant way. The color combination’s great, the katakana helps out a lot, but I think the biggest grab is the crescent. Not many people– I don’t think anyone uses it as part of their logo, so it being a rarity is awesome and precious. And as an enthusiast of t-shirts with graphics, it’ll look great plastered across chests.

Why “Darkness Opera”? I wanted to tell dark stories on a grand scale, and operas can be serious or funny which allows me to paint with as many brushes as I want.

Service Industry Confidential

This is something I created for the Service Industry Podcast shortly after I made my logo. They didn’t ask for it, and I would’ve been more than ok if they told me to fuck off. I was still feeling a creative buzz and walked it off with the design. I originally wanted to do something on a lacquered mahogany board since lots of bars are made with that. However, Paint.net being free means that it isn’t as capable as Photoshop. I didn’t wanna attempt to go down a creative road I knew would lead to a craggy dead end. I knew that I would’ve tried a few experiments with the mahogany, and I didn’t wanna get bum-rushed by disappointment. The idea of beer bottlecaps came to me, then the idea of tilt-shifting. I turned the saturation way down so the text could stand out without clashing. The biggest pain, because of Paint.net’s restrictions, was the font. I didn’t have many options, but it looked too bland to leave it alone. So I did a gradient paint job and added some grain to make it look fizzy. “Confidential” looks like a Van Halen album cover, and that’s alright with me. It still looked a little dead, but the closed sign changed that.

Well, enough rambling. Back to being a director.

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The Pre-Pre-Production Come-Along of January

Posted in Blog, Making-Of, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2017 by Rathan Krueger

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Last month was a bit of a preparedness overkill, knowing that making WAKE UP ALONE is gonna be as much of a one-man show as possible. After taking care of The Most Important Part of Filmmaking, copyrighting the script, I made a list of things to do each month leading to the first day of filming (Mayday). January was dedicated to:

  • Looking into the average cost of locations, crew, and equipment
  • Checking The Knife’s “Marble House” for availability
  • Forming a producer list and sending inquiry letters
  • Building a budget
  • Storyboarding
  • Making a style guide [got bumped from February]

Everything got handled except for two things. I didn’t check the Knife song because I wanted it to run through the ending credits… but there wouldn’t be enough people in the credits to use the whole song. The whole song was important because of the idea I had for the credits needed all five minutes and eighteen seconds of it. WAKE UP ALONE isn’t gonna be the only film I make and I highly doubt that I’m gonna forget that ending, so it’s not a big deal. Plan B was for me to make a song, and I have an idea of what to create. The other thing that didn’t get handled was storyboarding, partially because I wanna lock a location before settling into visuals and partially because storyboard notebooks for the 2.35:1 format are expensive for me right now. “Buy a 1.85:1 notebook and draw matte boxes, dummy.” I said expensive for me right now. Once the money starts coming in and I lock a location, I’ll bite the bullet and buy what I need.

Something I’ve learned this year is that the world wants you to succeed, yet is indifferent to whether you do or not. It offers you SO many avenues to do whatever you need, but it’s up to you to take advantage or not. I raided producers’ info for query letters all month with IMDbPro’s free trial, for instance. I’ve found so many great sites that talk about average costs and making budget sheets, and Maureen A. Ryan’s PRODUCER TO PRODUCER has quickly proved invaluable. Spending years absorbing filmmaking info from DVDs, Blu-rays, YouTube, Vimeo, and books, the one person I’ve heard the least from is the producer. Ms. Ryan’s book tears down that wall for the indie producer. Or the indie writer-director-editor-producer. However, there’s an aspect of producing that I dislike. Ms. Ryan’s book goes into detail about how to write a proposal for investors, and I loathed the part where I had to break down WAKE UP ALONE into an economic statement. Not planning the budget (I liked that a lot), describing my film as a product and doing a fucking fantastic job of it. Art is resistance, but it is also commerce.

Making the style guide is one of the most fun parts of this. A style guide is making a folder of pictures that represent clothes, hairstyles, make-up, locations, and cinematography choices for the film. I do NOT want a shitty-looking film just because it has a micro-budget. I’m as far from the mumblecore movement as one can get. Closer to bargain-basement Rococo. Some might feel that it restricts the creative process, but I’d rather everyone know what I want than wasting time trying to figure things out. I’m open to further discovering styles and such, but I also have a very stable foundation for them.

This month has a lot going for it, so I better get to it. There’s a BIG gamble that I’ve been dragging my feet about taking because of the attention, good and bad, it’ll bring. Fortune favors the bold and all that jazz…

Daily Dialogue: Harley and Ivy in “Chinese Democracy”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2015 by Rathan Krueger

After taking a Friday off to write a magnum opus (ha), I’m getting back into the groove of my weekly promise. Spending 40 minutes every Friday writing Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy up to no good. Or some good. It’s hard to tell with those two.

Harley
Hey, Reeeeeeeeed. Oh, light of my life. Oh, reason ta live. Oh, mulch ta my–

Ivy
I get it. And, no, we’re not going.

Harley
Aww man! Why?

Ivy
Because the smell FINALLY got out of my hair since last time.

Harley
That’s what that was? But that was weeks ago!

Ivy
You’re not helping your argument.

Harley
Ah HA! An argument suggests a debate suggests that yer willing ta listen!

Ivy
Sometimes I hate that you were a psychiatrist.

Harley
It comes in handy. Like now! Why dontchya wanna go? It’s gotta go beyond stinky hair.

Ivy
You wanna know?

Harley
Of course!

Ivy
Do you really wanna know?

Harley
Share yer feelings with tha group.

Ivy
It’s because it’s something you wanna do.

Harley
Huh?

Ivy
Everything we do, it’s some idea you cooked up and I figure out a way to get something out of it. And that’s not fair. I thought we were friends. A little more than friends.

Harley
Aww, Red… Yer so right! How stupid of me! How selfish!

Ivy
It’s ok.

Harley
No, it’s terrible! Yer my little bundle of baby’s breath and pennyroyal! Whatcha wanna do?

Ivy
No, it’s fine.

Harley
Bullnookies! Tell me whatcha wanna do or else I’ll bite ya.

Ivy
That doesn’t sound so bad.

Harley
I didn’t say where.

Ivy
If I say it, will you do it?

Harley
Bite ya?

Ivy
No, do what I want.

Harley
Bite ya?

Ivy
I don’t want you to bite me!

Harley
Oh… Then sure. I guess…

Ivy
No matter what?

Harley
I guess…

Ivy
You can bite me later.

Harley
Yay!

Ivy
As for right now…

Harley
Yeah?

Ivy
I want to go to China.

Harley
Holee Sino-Cruise! I thought I was tha crazy one in this relationship!

Ivy
What?

Harley
China’s 20 hours away! Thataway!

Ivy
I know.

Harley
And, and, and we’re broke!

Ivy
Not anymore. I saved a sack of money from that heist from two months ago.

Harley
That’s why we came up short…

Ivy
Yeah, sorry. But I was saving up for China. Now we can go and live like queens.

Harley
I’d rather be a duchess.

Ivy
Why?

Harley
More letters, duh.

Ivy
Ok, we can be Queen Ivy and Duchess of Quinn.

Harley
Yay! How much did ya have in that sack?

Ivy
Around $500,000.

Harley
Yippee-skip! The Duchess of Quinn’s getting a yacht!

Ivy
No, she’s not.

Harley
Aww man. But–

Ivy
We’re going there for me, remember?

Harley
Yeah…

Ivy
And you get to bite me later, remember?

Harley
Yeah!

Ivy
So you don’t need a yacht.

Harley
Nope! Why do ya wanna go to China, anyway?

Ivy
It’s one of the biggest smog producers in the world. We’re gonna teach those responsible a lesson.

Harley
She wants revenge…

Ivy
Damn straight.

Harley
Heh. “Straight.”

Ivy
Quiet, you.

Harley
Mffgm!

Ivy
Not really “Quiet, you.”

Harley
So how’re we gonna teach those jerks a lesson? Grasper and Keeper?

Ivy
Who and who?

Harley
My mallet and my gun, silly.

Ivy
You have many a trick and wiggle, but I doubt even you could sneak them past TSA.

Harley
What TSA? I thought we were just gonna steal a jet.

Ivy
…oh yeah, we’re villains.

Harley
I’d like ta think we’re mistresses of our destiny.

Ivy
That’ll save us a few thousand bucks. Can you fly?

Harley
Not even on a bet! Et toi?

Ivy
No, cockpits make me nervous.

Harley
Heh. “Cockpit.”

Ivy
Out of the gutter.

Harley
But it’s soooo dirty!

Ivy
How are we gonna fly a jet?

Harley
Aw, Red. Did ya forget that ya brainwash people to kowtow to yer every whim? Work yer pheromone magic on a pilot! It’ll be queen training!

Ivy
What would I do without my Duchess?

Harley
Live with one less bite mark.

Ivy
Huh?

Harley
CHOMP!!

June 12th, 2013 at 11:40pm

Posted in Uncategorized on June 12, 2013 by Rathan Krueger

I finished my first novel, “Lie”.

The Liebster Award

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 8, 2012 by Rathan Krueger

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I got an awesome award for being awesome from alicebrook1502.  The Liebster Blog award, to be exact.  I was willing to just stare at it for a while, but it came with rules.  Rules and questions.  Lessee what they are…

The Rules:

  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by your nominator.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other bloggers, making sure to tell them you nominated them.
  • Success.
  • You write up 11 new questions to your nominees.
  • You can’t nominate your nominator.
  • Put the award pic in your blog.

The 11s About Me:

  • Throughout my life, I’ve had one long dream.  When I was a tot, I dreamt I was driving on a glass road near Lake Michigan with a square sun setting.  When I was a little older, the glass road led me to an elevated city.  When I was a little older, I wandered the elevated city until I found a large outdoor mall.  A little older, I walked around the large outdoor mall until I went inside and it became an indoor mall.  A little older, I found the outside of a cinema.  A little older, I went inside it.  A little older, I stood in line for a film.  A little older, I stood at the doorway of the coliseum-sized theatre.  That last one is about three or four years old now.
  • My favorite Disney film is “The Little Mermaid”, but that has nothing to do with my ginger love.  It’d seem like it does but I took a step back from myself and asked is it because of Ariel and it wasn’t.  Couldn’t tell you what it was, but it wasn’t Ariel.
  • I had to walk 14 miles non-stop to my house.  Twice.  Once was in the rain and the other was in the snow.  Those two events were big influences on my thoughts of dependability and humanity.
  • I know a such thing as deer crack exists because I saw it in a gas station on the way to Michigan.  I should’ve bought it but I was too focused on driving two towns north of Detroit and back to Chicagoland in one night.  But I can at least say I was in the land of Robocop.  Although a chunk of the first one was shot in Texas.
  • I once made an origami swan the size of a grain of rice.  It got me a trip to a stripclub but I didn’t go because I was 14 at the time and hated the idea of stripclubs.  Still do.  Can’t get behind the concept of paying for blue balls.  Burlesque shows are ok because that funny word “art” is thrown around.  And burlesque dancers are prettier than strippers.  More variety, too.  I support stripper unions, though, because I’m quite sure their bosses take advantage of them in many ways.  There’re a few documentaries on that topic I suggest to everyone.  I think one is called “Live Nude Girls Unite!” (I’d look for that with Safe Search on…).
  • I’ve seen over 1,500 films and here’s proof.
  • I thought wheat buns were chocolate buns when I was a tot and was horrified each time I forgot.
  • I think the perfect set-up would be to have a loft in the city and a hobbit hole in the country.  Even designed a hobbit hole for myself.  It’s A LOT bigger on the inside than most… hmm.  I was gonna call it the Shadow Gallery (“V for Vendetta”, yo) but after that last statement, I might call it my TARDIS.  I was gonna have the doorway look like one, anyway.  As in, the door would be the entire police box, not just the door.  Ah, geekdom.  Either the Fourth or Eleventh Doctor’s TARDIS.
  • I’d love to own a small theatre where I could show films and perform plays.  Like a 50-seat place.  Maybe that’d be my Shadow Gallery.
  • I think the best part of being an artist is the retrospective.  The point where you look back at what you’ve done and who you’ve affected.
  • I also think that having electric powers would be swell.

alicebrook1502’s Questions:

  • If you had to pick, what would be the quote/thought/book you lived by?  “Never compromise.  Not even in the face of Armageddon.”
  • When did you feel most inspired?  Through emotional pain or listening to dance music.  The muse likes what the muse likes.
  • Why didn’t you become what you wanted to be as a kid?  Because the Spice Girls broke up and that kept me from hanging out with them backstage.
  • Who’s your role model and why?  V, of “V for Vendetta”, because he went through a lot of shit and instead of feeling sorry for himself, he did something with his life that was true to himself, without compromise, that affected a lot of people.  Even after he died.
  • What’s the story behind your name/your blog’s name?  “Rathan” comes from me being wrathful with what I create, “Krueger” comes from Freddy Krueger, and “Darkness Opera” is the genre I made up for myself.
  • Favorite fairy tale?  “Rumpelstiltskin”.
  • What’s the thing that you have to do, but you absolutely hate it?  Deal with family until I’m in a position to cut myself off completely.
  • Pick a couple of objects that define/describe your way of life.  I guess that’d be my TARDIS mug and my Blu-ray player.  The mug because it represents my ability to be functionally geeky (at least in my eyes).  The Blu-ray player because it represents my love of films and music (since, y’know, it can also play CDs and anything on a flash drive).
  • If you could live any time you wanted, when would that be?  When all the pieces of my life fall into place, so I could enjoy life finally.
  • One gadget that you can’t live without.  Something that would allow me to watch films and listen to music.
  • One gadget that hasn’t been made, but you’d gladly use.  An invincible giant robot that gives its pilot immortality and infinite charisma.

My Questions:

  • What song best represents you?
  • What’s the second-scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?
  • What film would you love to live in?
  • Would you rather be a swordfighter or a gunslinger?
  • You’re held at gunpoint in front of your loved ones to make a wish.  Your wish will come true, but something bad will happen to someone in the world.  What’s your wish?
  • A bed of candy or a wall of soda?
  • No sex or no sense of taste?
  • Someone invents a device that could cure all the world’s ails, but it could also destroy the world, and gives the device to you.  Do you activate it?
  • The Matrix is real: do you live in it or escape to Zion?
  • Do you forgive the one who broke your heart?
  • Someone gives you $2,000,000,000,000 with no strings attached: What do you do?

Nominees (not sure I know 11 people here…)

(nope…)

I’m a Published Author Now and This is Proof

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2012 by Rathan Krueger

My short story, “Blame Me”, was chosen to be in the short story anthology “Strange World” and now, you can buy an e-book edition.  Being an anthology, there’re other authors with short stories of their own waiting to be experienced by the world so you’d be helping out a lot.  Or you could complain about bad stories while sipping Schlitz and screaming at your cat (poor, Mr. Bojangles…).  But seriously, give “Strange World” a chance.  Thanks a bunch.

First Wave of Chapter Titles for “Love! in Bedlam”

Posted in Uncategorized on November 12, 2012 by Rathan Krueger

Starting with the prelude… “On Love’s Bondage”, “Happy Hours”, “Random, Random, Angst, Angst”, “Tempus Fugit”, “Taphophile Rhapsody”, “Toiletside Confession”, “…At Least You’re You”, “A Woman’s Touch”, “H3NЯ! V11”, “The Greatest Love”, “Mercy Havoc”, “Frayed”, and “A Little Rearranging”.

::curtsies::