Monday, December 10, 2012

Shit Burlesque Dancers Say!

I have an amazing amount of footage! The crazy thing is I can still think of little pieces I would like to add. My documentary can't end up being a 7 hour movie where they serve you breakfast and lunch soooo edit, trim, cut here we go!

As I have been cleaning up my hard drives (I confess they have become a little unorganized) I found a series of 4 shorts I created last winter with some of the cast of the Slutcracker: Sugar Dish, Femme Brûlée, Lolli Hoops and Abby Normal. The popular "Shit people say" videos were everywhere and so we created our own, here they are, 1,2,3 and 4.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

A busy December...

It's snowing!

It's December and the Slutcracker is opening it's 5th season tonight with a sold out show!

This year has flown by faster then I can even comprehend. Last December I shot almost every Slutcracker show in so many different ways...slow motion, from the wings, mid shots, wide shots, evenings with 3 cameras shooting thanks to Sarah Paterson's camera resourcefulness and cameras shooting from the rain curtain overhead thanks to the ingenuity of Toby Chandler.

ABC nightline asked for some of the footage for a nutcracker special in which they were featuring Vanessa and the Slutcracker, a spectacular use of my footage! Happy to be shooting in HD!

My year has been busy, the biggest new adventure was having a baby! Julian Paul Pratt Van Daam was born on Monday, June 18th which also happened to be Paul McCartney's 70th birthday. Julian has already strummed his first guitar...just saying.

Learning to balance motherhood and filmmaking is my new challenge, I love a good puzzle and this one is constantly changing. I have started to edit again (I do have a documentary to finish!) and have found that if I can remain very sanguine I have no problem taking the moments I'm given and utilizing them.

This year my first Slutcracker promo was a petite parody on the book "50 shades of grey" - We called it "50 shades of Slutcracker". The idea was dreamed up by Femme Brûlée (Robyn Girgosian) and then taken down the torrid path of creativity by Sugar Dish (Vanessa White) and lastly I translated the idea to video. I utilized footage from the 2011 season and the "Arabian"music from the Filharmonie Bruno's recording of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker (commissioned by Vanessa and John for the Slutcracker!). 

So far Julian has been on two shoots with me. 

The first was for Torrent Engine 18. Katrina (who has been in the slutcracker in years past) put a call out for assistance after the filmmaker who was going to make their kickstarter video had his footage erased at an airport by customs. Maya Landi, Julian and I went to meet Katrina and E. Stephen at the firehouse. I shot the video with Julian in the baby bjorn that Femme Brûlée gave me (Awesome gift! Thank you!). Maya shot video of me shooting video while wearing Julian. I figure it's important to have these things documented.  Here is a link to their kickstarter. It was a success! They received more then double the amount they were asking for.

The second shoot with Julian occurred on monday, Slutcracker load in. I finally caught the moment! Amy the giant candy cane penis getting unloaded from the truck and wheeled into the back of the Somerville theatre. Somehow I have missed it every year. A big thanks to Malice in Wonderland who filmed me filming -  I had Julian snug in the bjorn. This time wrapped and hatted up, it was chilly out!

I wanted to make one more Slutcracker promo before the show opened. I am thrilled to say it is up and live floating through the world wide web.This piece I wanted to have more of a documentary feel. A little behind the scenes, a few fantastic quotes and then the beautiful footage of the show itself. Footage of the provocative Amanda Palmer,  Jo Weldon,  Jonny Porkpie and It wouldn't have been complete without a Slutmas eve quote from Mehran who will be opening most of the shows this season. I find that editing is like putting a puzzle together and half of the time is spent finding pieces that might fit.  I found all kinds of beautiful moments that never made the cut, sometimes it's so hard to delete your little darlings. But, I'm happy with the end result. 
Here it is:

If you are in the Boston area and interested in seeing this brilliant burlesque parody of the nutcracker buy your tickets soon they will sell out. 

With batteries charged and lenses cleaned I'm off to film opening night. 
Cheers, Julia

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Slutcracker Dreams" Back in Production!

Well, I spoke to soon....
We are back in production! Filming this beautiful holiday burlesque in it's fourth year - Our third year filming. New casting, delicious new moves and some costume upgrades all continue to make the Slutcracker up her game.  Cast A and B are very different and it's been interesting filming them both opening weekend. I'm looking forward to this coming weekend. Of course in the process I need another hard drive...again. This is one of those moments that I feel thankful that I'm not shooting with a red camera. I think I would choose to work on a narrative film and not a documentary when having to store so much footage.

As I continue shooting my quest for what to edit this feature on gets a slight reprieve and I enrolled in yet another class in final cut X. I'm on the fence, I feel that apple is changing some of the things that people have been clamoring about and yet the program still feels foreign to me. I realize that Final 7 did take some time for me to be comfortable on it as well and with an open mind X might provide some things that 7 doesn't. To name that most important is easy...Keywords. You can imbed keywords into marked areas in footage. It doesn't sound like much but when dealing with hours of footage it could make life easier and editing go a little faster. I will make my decision by new years so I have a few more weeks to explore my options.

Here is the new Promo if you haven't seen it yet:)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Walter Murch and Slut Promo 2011

In my quest for editing genius it came to my attention that a true master of the art of editing and sound design was speaking in Boston, Walter Murch. He edited such films as Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, The Conversation and was going to be speaking about his craft, process and final cut X.

Walter Murch with a clip of himself covered in film from Apocalypse Now

His lecture in a nutshell had some inspiring thoughts....number one being Fungibility. He defined the word fungible: "being of such nature as to be freely exchangeable or replaceable, in whole or in part, for another of like nature or kind". He described the amount of footage he had to manage when cutting "Apocalypse Now" - 7 Tons - (This was not fungible). What is fungible is this new era of digital video and many exchangeable hard drives, of course personally I am finding my constant need for more hard drives a little overwhelming.

He is a huge proponent of standing when you edit, something I am happy to say I agree with. My editing station is up on a workbench, 2 monitors and a stool in case I need to sit or rest my foot on something. He reflected on his thoughts about standing to edit and how it's like being a Chef or a Conductor...they stand.

Final Cut X - He didn't say to much about because he hasn't worked with it yet...just that he was hurt and disappointed when he looked at the program. He loves Final Cut 7 which is what he did his last film on.
The search for what to do about Final Cut X has lead me to sign up for a class...maybe if I learn it from a pro they will know where all the hidden bells and whistles are and how to get out of all those "user friendly" settings.

Julia Van Daam with Andrew Weisblum 

I met the "Black Swan" editor Andrew Weisblum very briefly after his lecture - long enough for a photo:) It was fascinating to hear him talk about his process working with the director and dissecting and translating the script for Black Swan into the visual landscape that they choose. All in all it was an inspiring evening just what I needed to get back to my work bench and edit this years Slutcracker Promo.

In going through footage for the piece I found some beautiful footage that I have shot in slow motion last year. I had met with Vanessa and we decided to use some new music for this years piece. Last years Russian works so perfectly that it was hard to imagine using anything else but luckily Vanessa suggested the last minute of the sugar plum fairy - I love it. It gave me a little more time to linger on some clips but still had a crescendo to bring me to a sturdy finish. Please take a look - comment if you like it:)

2011 Slutcracker Promo!

In all my searching I also found some nice clips of Amanda Palmer, Jo Weldon and Johnny Porkpie! So it looks like I'll be creating another piece maybe more like last years "Inner Slutcracker"...coming soon!

Monday, October 17, 2011

AGF Sneak Peak: The Engagement

Our first Slutcracker audience engagement! Who up a wedding???
This summer I burnt a DVD for their wedding - Something to show their guests.
Thinking back on it it's not often that you have an engagement on film usually it's the wedding that gets taped. Well, best of luck to them and here is the first "sneak peak" from "Slutcracker Dreams"!!!

Working on the Slutcracker Promo 2011!

As I am reviewing footage looking for clips for this years youtube promo I am reminded of how wonderful a community this is. Vanessa White in creating this witty burlesque not only created a holiday classic that has people already buying tickets but she enabled a community of artists to work together in an amazing cohesive nature. Cheers to the Slutcracker!

I am attaching the 2 promos that I created last year and will hopefully have something shiny and new for you to look at soon.

Slutcracker Promo 2010

Inner Slutcracker 2010

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More Hard drives and the search for Asylum

Asylum: shelter or protection from the need for more hard drives...

Such is the fate of the digital filmmaker...At least the drives are getting bigger!

3 Terebyte back up drive received and used to copy my system drive.  Daemeon ran a diagnostic and found the old drive was running at 40% of the speed it should have been. Time to run an 3 T hard drive to replace the old system drive. I revealed some of my lack of tech savey when I discovered that deskstar is owned by Hitachi - who knew? not me.
So... needless to say this dance of the hard drives is coming to a close. Daemeon just copied the old drive onto the new and I'm convinced that this drive has enough speed to also do the dishes as I continue to edit.

Meanwhile... in my life with my camera - It is always a pleasure to film interesting artists!

ORG: Asylum the brainchild of Mali occured in all is insanity on Friday evening. The show was well curated.  I was thrilled to see Karen Montanaro perform a beautiful piece, mime, mask and dance.

Karen Montanaro
Cast members in the show that I have spent many an evening filming in the last two years included: UnAmerika's Sweetheart Karin Webb, Sarah Josselyn and Katrina Galore  (all in the Slutcracker Documentary!)
UnAmerika's Sweetheart Karin Webb
"The Madness and Moving Pictures of Michael Pope" Delivered storytelling that continued to capture my attention even after he stopped speaking... he continued, dimly lit, painting Sarah Paterson into a beauteous living statue. Other Musical high lights included the duo Hello Dust and Mali Jaggery took the stage with passion and authority.

Karen Montanaro,  Ginger Ibex and Michael Pope painting his living statue

The evenings event closed with a performance art audience experience brought by Amanda Palmer - nothing quite like putting the audience in the dark! We will see what all the footage looks like...I know I could see people that look like blue ghosts running through the room... very dark blue ghosts....

Amanda Palmer directs "Where's Jennifer"