Friday, February 27, 2009

Wanna Disappoint Mom? Two Words: "Punk Rock"!

It's time to get the word out! There's a new book coming out in July, and its called.......

"So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother)"

It's written by YA (that's "Young Adult" to you and me) author, Micol Ostow. And while there is a special place in my heart for the written word, my brain is hardwired for visuals (which helps with the whole filmmaking/editing thing), so its a good thing illustrator David Ostow did such a kick-ass job filling this novel with comic strips that interweve through the chapters, elevating this story above a mere novel, or graphic novel. Its both, and its niether - a perfect blend of what makes both formats great.

Ok, so you get the gist - "So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Yor Mother)" (or "SPR") is a groovy blend of words and pictures. What is the story about? Why am I pimping it out? How could I even know enough to pimp it out when its not hitting bookstores until July? And wasn't I going to write about my new editing project today?

Well, David Ostow just so happens to my roommate and bestest friend in the whole world. And Micol Ostow just so happens to be his sister. Which makes me an "insider"! That's right, I may not be a member of Team Ostow, but I walked in on many a creative meeting between the two. And since Dave's drafting studio (bedroom) is on the other side of our spaciaous (and awesome) Hoboken apartment, I watched the whole graphic portion of the novel come into being. I even have a cameo in one of the strips! Welcome to minute one of my fifteen!

For those of you lazy motherf*&#'s that didn't click on the link I provided, "SPR" is basically a story about dreaming big, breaking molds, and the consequences that follow. Specifically, its about a group of privaleged high school kids that live in the bubble of a tight Jewish community in North Jersey. Its not exactly the type of environment you'd expect a punk rock band to emerge from. But that's exactly what Ari Abramson, a junior at a religious private school, sets out to do. And from a student body more suited for prayer and study, than sex, drugs and rock & roll, Ari sets out to recruit the band that'll make him a rockstar. Intrigued? I know I am. Is it July yet?

If it isn't obvious yet, my new editing project is related to "SPR". Or to be more specific, the marketing of "SPR". The days of one-sheet ads for new books are gone, my friends. The fine people of the publishing industry have taken a page from Hollywood's gamebook, and now - books get trailers! That's right - just like the ones you see for movies. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself, bee-yotch! (Sorry, that was uncalled are not a bee-yotch)

Which brings us full circle back The Powers That Be have decreed that "SPR" needs a trailer, and since I was the first editor in the vicinity of the book's creators, I was called up from the minor leagues. See you later, youtube suckers! I'm getting embedded on an a publisher's offical website!

But I'm getting waaaaaaay ahead of myself. I only started work on the trailer this week, and its a whole new area for me. Animation! Well, not traditional animation. Dave an I are collaborating on using his drawings to make a trailer that stays true to the style and tone of the book, while also whetting your appetite and giving your eyeballs boners. (ok, again...that was innappropriate...but cut me some slack, Jack - I've been staring at computer screens for 12 hours today. Plus I'm reeeeeeeeeally sleep deprived. So just give me a pass on the whole eyeball boner thing, ok?)

Now that I've introduced you to "SPR" and caught you up to speed on my current project, I'll leave you to your thoughts. Or I can leave you with Dave's thoughts, or Micol's - you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.

Next time on "Burn After Blogging": "SPR" Trailer updates, whatever thoughts are going through my fried brain, and 10,000 more words of pure blog goodness!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let There Be BLOG!!!!

And the internet saw that there was blog, and it was good......

Man, am I excited! Today is the first day of the rest of my blog. Seriously, I have been meaning to kick this thing into high gear for over a week now. But like a wise songwriter once wrote, "I run good, but I'm hard to start, and my breaks are bad so I'm hard to stop". The proof is in the pudding (as the kids say) that the first part applies to me. Let's hope that the second part is just as accurate, eh? (elbow, elbow).

You see, I need this blog. It completes me. This is not hyperbole (ok, maybe a little).

I'm a storyteller. Its not just what I do, its who I am. Its not a calling, its my nature. To create a world, structure a narrative, and use my imagination to capture somebody else's........damn....I litereally ache to do that. And when I do.....I feel complete. Like I am walking the path I was meant to.

And the road goes both ways. To get drawn into somebody else's world, be it through written word, moving pictures, or a live performance. I love it all. When I sit at the edge of my seat in suspence, shout out loud in disbelief over a mindbending plot-twish, or feel depressed as I read the last few pages of a book because I don't want to say good-bye to the characters....I can't help but step back and be in awe. For that writer, filmmaker, musician, artist.........for that storyteller to create and share something that's emersive and so emotionally provoking, how could I not want to return the favor?

My drug of choice is filmmaking (writing is my misstriss). While I love all aspects of the filmmaking process, my heart belongs mostly to post production. Specifically editing. Its like sculpting, but instead of a lump of clay, I use a lump of footage to create something. For example:

This is an old piece of work I did. Its a movie trailer for "The Big Lebowski". No, not the official theatrical trailer - let me be clear I am in no way affiliated with the production or marketing of this movie. It was my final project in an editing workshop I took at the New York Film Academy. (Actually, I lost the original version and later recreated it shot for shot on my home system). Its just an example telling a story (albeit not mine) in a way that both entertains AND sells the movie. Go ahead and watch it. If you are both entertained AND teased afterwards, then I did a good job with the trailer. - To be fair, its much too long to be an actual trailer, but it was one of the first things I ever did!

Now for something a little more fun!
Basically, editing is a little like magic. The filmmaker/editor uses various tricks (cuts, pace, music, sequence) to tell a story by connecting unrelated pictures and video clips. If that doesn't sound completely right to you, its because the whole point of this "magic trick" is for the audience to never notice they are even being tricked in the first place. The audience might be moved by top-notch acting, blown away by special effects, or left breathless by brilliant camera work. But the untrained eye will not notice the genius of the editing - its the invisible conductor holding the symphony of film together. Recently, a trend of creating "mash-ups" appeared on the internet. Originally it was an example of the importance of editing - somebody took the movie "The Shining" and edited a trailer out of it, making it look like a romantic comedy. This sparked a wave of creativity across the internet as people recut movies of a certain genre and made them look like a completely different type of movie. (One of my personal favorites is "Ten Things I Hate About Commandments" - a recut trailer of "The Ten Commandments" that makes it look like an teen comedy from the late 90's). I decided to toss my hat into the "mash-up" arena, and I took the musical "Fiddler on the Roof" and cut a trailer mash-up that makes it look like a horror movie. Don't take my word for it, experience the power of editing yourself and click the above link.

Those two trailers were personal projects - just playing around with a medium I love. But its just the tip of the iceberg. I am now a gun for hire. I have created a series of short ads for a law firm, and am working on a longer infomercial for them. I also have a really, really exciting project that I just started - a project who's progress I hope to document with this blog.

But the hour grows late, and this new project deserves to be introduced in a new blog post all its own. Besides, this is only the first post of the rest of my blog. We have time.