Thursday, May 31, 2012

Studio visits

 I worked at cleaning up my basement over the past couple of days. I fortunately discovered that a heavily laden shelf of films that was tilting oddly was doing so because the particle board bottom had become wet sometime recently and needed to be discarded. I have been trying to shoot some small pick-ups for Sockvile, but also have some other plans. Feels good to be able to turn around down there, it had become filled with boxes from every unfinished project for the past decade.
 This evening we also went to Rob Bos's gallery/home and purchased a couple of his Robot Duck paintings (done under the pseudonym Stan Channing). Rob is returning to Chicago this fall to finish his MFA and currently raising funds to make sure that happens.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

William's school reno/replace?

We attended a meeting where someone (not introduced as he was presumably introduced at prior meetings, all of which we missed) from the city (?) presented a number of scenarios for fixing William's school (Connaught). The foundation is brick, so is seriously decayed, and there are other structural problems. The cost of fixing the existing school, which apparently all those attending past meetings wanted, which would be great because it is a good looking school and nice to be in, will cost about $23M rather than about $18M to build new. In the cases of renovating as well as of building to the north of the existing school (which would give the students the most sunlight and the least traffic) will require closing the school for 3-4 years. Building on a different site (nothing is owned at this time) or building to the south would keep the school open during the process. They likely won't start for 2 years. William has three years left there. I strongly want the school to stay on this site as I'd rather have an elementary school on the end of my block than to have the land sold and developed into some condos.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cynthia Wells

Gerald Saul and Cynthia Wells
Had coffee with filmmaker/artist/actress/etc Cynthia Wells this afternoon. I've not seen her in quite a few years, even though she's been based in Moose Jaw for quite some time. I first met her in the mid to late 90s when she was moving from Edmonton to here and put on a mesmerizing exhibition of her films at the RPL.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Flurry of prep to try to start working

I want to set up a space in the basement to shoot some video but the place has been a dumping ground for our stuff for so long that it seems nearly impossible. I began by finally fixing my grandmother's chair which has had a cracked seat for a few years. I also moved lots of things around. Hope to shoot tomorrow. I've almost caught up on my daily videos, posting my Friday video (Faith and Politics), my Saturday video; I helped William edit a "Dr. Skrimguard" video about sweat lodges which he'll use in a school presentation later this week. I coached him through editing it himself.  I also posted my Sunday Mr. Saul video (and the society of creative anachronisms).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Joan visits

William and Joan
Filmpool AGM today. Small attendance.
Joan Prowse, on her way home from the Yorkton Festival, came over for the afternoon so I zipped home to visit with her. Had an interesting conversation about a new feature she's trying to make.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Festival concludes

I got up early this morning, even though I'd been up until 3 last night. I went out to shoot video of the festival street fair as it set up. I returned later to see it crowded (and to have some mini-donuts). Burned out, I stayed home and this evening while Margaret had to attend one last function. I finished watching "Pushing Daisies" this evening (both first and second seasons). I really started to get into the fairy tale book meets film noir narration and the super-clean 1950s vision of 2010 look.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Late night Filmpool Screening under the steeple

Donna Kreikle
Berny Hi at the Artesian
William had a sleep over at Rowan's tonight. Sylvie followed us there and she began to follow me home but stopped somewhere mid way. Our evening was filled with festival. First we went to an incredible exhibition of paintings by Donna Kreikle in which she recreated numerous famous paintings with grasshoppers in the the place of the people. The Filmpool hosted two screenings tonight, the first being its annual screening under the starts in the park and the second was a new thing, the screening under the steeple at the Artesian on 13th. This event started late and didn't finish until 1:30. When we got home at 2, the cat was still not home. I waited up until 3 and finally gave up. A bit rainy but not overly cold for a fur bearing creature.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

that's mental!

Went to see a mentalist as part of the festival this evening. He was good and quite entertaining. He walked everyone through some basic psychological ideas about "tells" and gender traits and body language which help him make certain calls. However, he mixes this up with some other magic tricks such as having page numbers and words matching with different people's ideas to create a good show.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

war of the zombies 2

I wasted a lot of time yesterday with some technical problems with William's new zombie movie. I took it in to work this morning and rendered it out easily and had a dvd ready at lunch. This was fortunate because there are a lot of kids excited to see it and William's teacher said she'd show it this afternoon if he had a copy. I met with Erik this afternoon and described the rendering problems to him. He thinks that the compressors on the QT videos is the issue, that they stretch across the whole video so when you chop them up, it takes a lot of work to maintain them. Perhaps if I pre-exported each clip after initially importing them into the session but before I've brought them into a timeline, that might solve it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Trains at Davin

Every year during the Cathedral Festival, the model train group who build huge set ups in the basement of Davin school, and we go. There are always little changes and things we perhaps just never noticed before.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cathedral Festival parade

Holiday Monday; beginning of Cathedral Festival. William dressed up and walked with the small but dedicated steam punk club who then held a workshop in the Balkwill Centre. William and I actually spent more time in Allan Dotson's comic book jam room where I made a Canister comic.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eclipse error

There was a partial solar eclipse this evening. I quickly built a box with a lens and a paper back with which I thought we'd be able to carefully study the phenomenon. Unfortunately, it did not seem to reveal the changing shape (see box and back image above). We COULD see the eclipse when we held up two layers of welding goggles in front of our eyes, so I know that the images in my makeshift camera obscura were wrong. Maybe it was a factor of the lens aperture which made the non circular sun circular? The internet said to use a pinhole. I have lots of pinhole stuff around, so I should have done that.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ghosts and Grapefruits

 Last night we went to Rob Bos's gallery. I didn't know it has a 1940s theme dress. The show was Adam Lark, Suburban Poltergeists. Adam had an exhibition in our garage about five or six years ago during the Cathedral Festival.
William discovered the joy of juicing. He really loves sour.

Friday, May 18, 2012

shopping in the east end

We did some binge shopping in the east end power centres today. Bought a fountain for the cat. Just when I thought that was the dumbest thing of the day, I passed this parking situation. Put some text on it to try to make it my meme.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

zombies versus aliens

Today William had told many kids at school that he'd be making a zombie/alien movie after school. We had about 50 kids in it. The crew consisted of me and ....... that's about it. It was some pretty wonderful chaos. Aliens had antenna on their heads. Some kids had fake blood on their faces. That's about it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

rain or shine or zombies

With the Cathedral Festival theme this year of "Rain or Shine", tonight's workshop was on umbrella painting so they can be carried at the festival to protect you against either contingency.
William and also tested my theory that you can make slurpees with the ice cream maker. It took 20 minutes but was very successful. However, when I tried it again two hours later, the chamber was not yet fully frozen so it didn't work.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weather turns very nice

It's getting hot today. Margaret is busy with festival but took a reading break and was visited by a butterfly. William and I walked to the library to check out (and photograph) a workshop but didn't create anything ourselves, opting for some playground time instead. I demonstrated how a heavy person can get more momentum on a swing than a light person.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Film rally

Attended big rally supporting film industry today. Walked along with hundreds of others between the sound stage and the legislature to deliver the petition. Kim Coates road with about 50 others on motorcycles from Saskatoon to attend. I heard that Brad Wall left the room while the petition was being presented.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

 Another busy weekend. William got up early and recruited me into helping make Margaret breakfast in bed. Started falling behind again. He made her a vase with flowers. We also got her a new cel phone. This afternoon Margaret's mother friends, Gerda and Marla (with baby in tow) came over to drink on the deck while I had our last Filmpool board meeting before the AGM this afternoon. Good meeting, some nice discussion around an idea of regular screenings in a regular place (perhaps pre-booking for a year as a "micro-cinema", maybe even reviving the old Filmpool "Hidden Cinema" label).

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Something about moms...

 We took our moms to an early mothers day lunch today, lunch as Table 10. Very good food.
Later in the afternoon, Margaret helped out her son by playing the Zombie Queen in his new film, "War of the Zombies", available very soon on Youtube.

Friday, May 11, 2012

the future of technology

We had our end of term review with Trevor Grant today. He wasn't there, he presented from PEI via Skype. I guess it's no big surprise, but it does make you think what sort of teaching we'll be doing in years to come. I rely on the personal interaction, on being able to look people in the eye and know when to push harder, when to use humor, when to slow down and take a lighter touch, etc. I can't do that over the computer, or at least I don't have a system to do it yet. The video above is by a young undergrad as part of a creative technology course with Rebecca Caines. It was set up in our recording studio today as part of a promotion for Fine Arts as high school students toured various departments.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


We went to Avengers this evening. Loved it. Didn't buy popcorn. Made some before the shot and more after the show, but it wasn't so much for eating as for special effects.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Leesa artist talk

Went to the university today. Watched a rough cut of Ian Campbell's new video, a 10 minute abstract mythological textural noisy dirty epic about time, film, the prairies, and loss. Very inspiring.
Toured Melanie around campus, the library, etc.
Sorted more video tape and took the last of my tapes home to dub.
This evening Leesa Streifler did a talk at the AGR, also inspiring. Melanie, Sheila Petty, and many others were were.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Matrix trade show

I took Erik along to the Matrix trade show this morning. The emphasis seemed to be on projection and 4K technologies as well as various converters to handle the growing diversity of signals you might need to send to a projector. The two week old 4K capable camera (with Erik above) can shoot 900 frames per second in short bursts (although we couldn't demo it due to the fact that the card slot was already damaged).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sockvile progress

Met with Erik today to look at and discuss progress on Sockvile. Started making a list shots and elements we still need.
I created the credits for Grain 2 using the laser printer technique. They will be random but hopefully legible.
This evening we watched the first episode of season 2 of Sherlock.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cathederal Festival history film

Today we went to the Artesian to help Margaret host the premiere screening of the "Hats Off, 20 years of the Cathedral Arts Festival" video. It was an all afternoon affair and I'm now behind a bit more.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

More fun and gaming

Allan's gaming show at the Art Projects is held over for a second week. This afternoon I took William and his friend there and we played a good game where you are giant monsters competing to destroy a city. This evening we went to Neutral Ground to see an exhibition of a set of painted transparencies, strung up to create a very evocative three dimensional illusion (above). Later we dove into Avatar the Last Airbender on Netflix, watching the final episode (William has been watching them out of order). We tried to watch the live action movie but it was far too annoying. In condensing the 20 hours of cartoons into 2 hours of live action, they chose to remove personality. After William went to bed, Margaret and I watched Van Helsing, which was quite bad but I think I really loved it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

working on films

Busy working on projects today. Shot a video of the city through the budding leaves to represent transition times here. I'd been waiting for my new lens adapter to mount my old manual focus lenses to the digital camera but gave up and shot this without it. Later in the afternoon, it arrived. I have also been going through SockVile one episode per day and sending notes to Erik so he can progress with them. I also bought some pieces I need to finish building my puppet for my Big World project (some reading about the set used in an early Brothers Quay film has me fired up about it). William was home from school but we didn't make a video together. Perhaps tomorrow. On my vhs dubbing project, I copied a bunch of episodes of Utopia Cafe I had worked on. I doubt that I'll look at them any time soon, but I would hate to through them out without a copy and not have the option of watching them.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Welcome Melanie

This evening we went to Art Projects to play Allan's games again. Melanie Wilmink and Luke arrived to see the gallery as well. Melanie arrived from Calgary yesterday and will be beginning her masters in interdisciplinary studies this fall with Christine Ramsay, studying film curation.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Allan Dotson's games

This evening Allan Dotson's game show opened at Rob Bos's Art Projects Gallery. Basically, Allan has created a number of games over the years and they are on display and open to be played. They include numerous unique hand drawn cards, tiles, and playing pieces. I'm told that it is held over for a second week now. We played three of the shorter games.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Groceries, gas, bills, dubbing tapes today. Here is my set up for dubbing. Conveniently, I can watch tv and my dubbing at the same time, which is surprisingly effortless.