Production Journal

May 2005 Archive

Lil' books

May.31.05 | 9:11 PM

We may have a lead on a narrator. Arturo has a friend in town that might have the right kind of voice, and I'm meeting with him Wednesday night. Now would be a really good time to finish the script. Simultaneously I'm now determined to get comics done for the Comic-Con. I want to do something that expands on Dr. Tran's personality a little more - maybe two or three short, digest-sized volumes that can be printed inexpensively. That would give me a chance to do a few new Beyond Grandpa jokes as well.

Spike called back

May.30.05 | 2:30 AM

Blade III
was not a movie I enjoyed. It only half registered in my brain while I was working, and that was too much for me. I talked to Spike (of Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation) to find out if he's doing a free screening at the San Diego Comic-Con this year, which he is. If our stupid, stupid little film is done by then, we'll be there. Probably Friday or Saturday night. I'll post more on that later.

I'm done drawing

May.29.05 | 3:00 AM

The final animation element, a background painted in Photoshop, was finished and sent to Keith today. I keep wanting to edit another little video blog-thing, but I don't have any material that wouldn't give away our jokes. That might ruin everything for the one guy that actually reads this. Floyd my man, you're a prince. Best of luck with the parole hearing.

Meet Evan


Evan™© Lone Sausage Prod.

This is a miniature burro named Evan, one of the characters in Roybertito's :60 Second Spot. This is my rough version, before Keith vectorizes him for Flash. Evan doesn't get a lot of screen time, but I love him all the same. Go on. Give him an apple.

Serious progress

May.27.05 | 1:51 AM

Nothing happened at all today. Well, that's not entirely true. I found out some stuff, but it in no way moved things forward. I found out that the word distaff means a woman's work or domain, or the female side of a family. I found out my monitor ain't gettin' fixed. I found out my friend Justin graduated from Cal Arts, so I went and updated his Lone Sausage bio. I also hung out on the floor for two hours and listened to Loveline.

Upgrade and suffer

May.26.05 | 1:50 AM

If I try to improve or upgrade or help computers in any way, I am punished by the Lord. I spent two days hunting down the monitor I need and could only find one used, at a place about two hours from where I live. So I drove down there, tested the thing, bought it, drove (in solid traffic) back home and after a five-hour monitor purchasing epic, I plugged it in AND - nothing happened. I stared at it for a moment. At nothing. Then I went into my bedroom, got my baseball bat, took my monitor out to the balcony and with a toss, whacked the non-functioning shit out of that nasty bitch and watched it hurtle into an oblivion of rocks and bushes, three stories down. I thought about it, anyway. I actually spent the rest of the day troubleshooting like a good little troubleshooter, trying not to think of my G4 with the bad logic board that's about to violate my coin purse.

Day 25

May.25.05 | 2:15 AM

Production is on pause for a moment while we figure out the narrator thing. Maybe I should stop counting days.

Computer so sad

May.24.05 | 1:52 AM

Had my Mac looked at for a second time, and it's totally a hardware problem. They're going to keep it for a while and give me an estimate in about four days. No, it's not under warranty anymore. I actually bought it for very little from the production of Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow, when they finished using it for compositing. Cheap computer; expensive paperweight. They were probably like, "What do we do with that shitty one we dropped in my mom's jacuzzi?" "Sell it to Breehn." "Will do."

Is it stupid that I added a video section to the left side of the Journal main page with a picture of a film strip right next to the word video?

Icons looking at vitamins

May.23.05 | 1:03 AM

I pushed my cart into the "healthy" section of the grocery store and thought I recognized the guy who stepped in front of me, but I wasn't sure. As he passed by, my eyes focused onto Eddie Furlong, who played John Connor in Terminator 2. Then I realized the first guy was Ray Park - Darth Maul, who was harder to recognize from the few behind-the-scenes documentaries I've seen his face in. They weren't shopping together or anything, but I wondered if they recognized each other, and maybe exchanged knowing looks.

Directing humans for cartoons

May.22.05 | 12:59 AM

Digitizing Gary's shots. It's hard to choose from so many good takes.

Editing would be a lot easier if we had a narrator voice track to cut to. Our search continues.

Two things occurred to me tonight. Thing one: this film is going to confuse people. Not everyone. Just some people. I'm one of them. Thing two: for certain shots, I'm trying to direct humans like I would animation. I'm asking people to move in an extremely choreographed way, with expressions, hands and heads all hitting very specific beats that human parts don't ordinarily hit. God bless them, they're trying. It's not easy to betray your nature with masterful precision while in front of a DV camera on some random Tuesday. Directing them becomes a matter of finding what's funny about the way the actor moves instead of fitting them into a mold, and varying it slightly with each take until we find something really funny.

Photos from Thursday


Production photos

1. Gary stopped by Thursday to shoot a scene. He was in LA for the E3 convention, and he'd suspected I was keeping some bonus chocolate syrup for the chugging. Christy took photos.

2. That's me telling Gary to get his shit together, because this ain't no Mickey Mouse operation. I gesticulate for effect.

3. Shooting complete. After this, we tried to go see a late showing of Star Wars III, and did not get in. Gary tested out a head massager that made him feel dirty, and we all agreed that Marilyn Monroe was a little chunky, but that's a good thing.

Voice Record Montage

May.20.05 | 12:00 AM


What am I doing up

May.19.05 | 3:44 AM

All the animation elements have been designed and sent to Animator Keith except for the main background, which I always seem to end up doing last. On Dr. Tran, almost all of the animation was finished before I finally got around to designing that one damn background of Tran's home interior. I remember there were a whole bunch of people staying over that night for some reason, and I had to sleep on the couch during the June heat. After a couple hours of sweating fitfully and staring at the ceiling, I opted to stay up all night and try getting that background out of my brain, and by morning I think I had it close to finished.

If I weren't such a procrastinator I'd have the rest of this script written by now, but we have no narrator, so what's the rush?

Still no call

May.18.05 | 2:34 PM

I continue to optimistically await a call from our narrator hopeful. In the meantime, I still don't have a finished script so I'd better get to work.

Rough cut

May.17.05 | 12:54 AM

gave me a refresher course on Final Cut, and today I put together a rough edit of the short. It's not even close to the intended sixty second length. It's pushing three minutes. I'm sure that with more work, I can tighten it up and trim the fat to bring the run time down a little, but this sucker is never going to make it to sixty seconds. I think the title will remain Roybertito's :60 Second Spot, and we'll see if anyone notices.

Today at a Chinese restaurant I had shrimp chips (chips made from shrimp, clearly) which crackle and pop when you dip them and cling to the inside of your mouth (if they touch your moist inner lip parts). I have a canker sore in my mouth today, and those little chips just clung angrily to it. It was a novelty pain.

I called our potential narrator guy earlier and he hasn't gotten back to me. But I'm sure he will. I'm not nervous.

Riley returns

May.16.05 | 1:30 PM

Visor boy

The visor wearing Riley made an appearance on Friday, and submitted himself to several hours of completely absurd activities. For those of you who don't know, Riley was one of the stars of the live action segment in Here Comes Dr. Tran. He has agreed to appear briefly in our new film, Roybertito's :60 Second Spot.

We were afraid Riley (who we hadn't seen for about a year) would walk in with a full beard and pipe, standing about 7 feet tall and sounding like James Earl Jones, but thankfully he's not too different than the last time we saw him. I can't tell you what a good sport this kid is. He did a brilliant job as always, and his part is going to be hilarious.

Day 15: Jason goes away

May.15.05 | 1:10 AM

Sound Booth

Saturday was Jason's last day here. We spent it recording voices and sound effects with Matt in the sound booth, digitizing the remaining bluescreen footage at home and then writing a small chunk of script at Bob's Big Boy. Because we are the pointlessly diner-themed production company, we feel occasionally obligated to do creative things at diners late at night.

The voice session went smashingly. We got what we needed and invented some things on the spot that worked pretty well. Christy had to work and couldn't make it, and now she is envious of our jollity. Rick showed up and even contributed a voice or two, and Matt's helping us make arrangements with a professional voice actor for the part of the narrator, the one major element we haven't yet secured.

More bluescreen

May.14.05 | 12:45 AM

Another ram-packed night of footage getting. When we get up in the morning there will be voice recording. Now I'm watching Twilight Zone and eating cheese puffs.

Premium mustaches at unreasonable prices

The.13th | 1:00 AM

So I found mustaches, but refrained from impulse-buying all my favorites because the price was higher than I had expected. I'm holding off for now.

Met with an animator tonight. Steve Wilson did an incredible job on our last film and has gone on to other things, so he won't have time to suffer my wrath on this project. Keith Holven is the animator who adapted Dr. Tran from bitmap into vectors (Flash), and he did an inspired job animating Tran on the Valentine and the Magic Talking Card. Lucky for us, he's agreed to take the larger and more challenging shot of the new film. I'm hurrying to design the elements he'll need.

Jason did in fact arrive by train tonight for a brief but creatively robust two-day stay. Here he is to say hello:


I had Pocari Sweat so many times, I thought I'd PUKE, when I was in Japan. And today I tried a new Vitamin Water that was most unexpectedly and horrifically similar. But did you know that I saw a hummingbird fall from the freeway above me and into the street near my passing bicycle? Yep. Initially, I thought it was the biggest dragonfly I'd ever seen. Then I stopped and doubled back and found the poor bird and lifted him to a cooler, quieter area of brush near the road. Then, maybe he was glad.

So anyway, I was in Japan visiting my friend Cindy, a while back. And anytime one of her Japanese friends (or one of her students) met me, they would unfailingly reference Jason Voorhees and the knife he used to stab everyone with. Of course I'm writing about this now because it's Friday The 13th, and I am Jason. Ah, ha, ha. Oh, the joke (if that's what it WAS -It wasn't a joke; most of them had never heard the name Jason before, independent of the American slasher films.) got old fast, lemme tell'ya.
So damn I'm tired.

Goodnight little Jason... shh.

Bluescreen Night 02

May.12.05 | 12:49 AM

Bluescreen 02

We got the majority of the key footage out of the way tonight. Our friend Arturo stopped by. Not only is he helping us out with the script, he's appearing in the film -and- he found Carlo for us, the guy who's playing the role of the Roybertito's Chef. We had never met Carlo before tonight, and he just walked in here, put on the apron and stole the show. His is the biggest role in the spot, and he completely floored us with his characterization. Our film is much more than it was yesterday.

It's kind of the same thing that happened with Riley. This kid showed up and delivered his lines, got sucker punched and hit in the puss with whipped cream pies and before we knew it, the Dr. Tran short had more life in it than we could have asked for.

Tomorrow: I search Earth for a big, fake mustache.

Bluescreen Night 01

May.11.05 | 1:26 AM

Tonight was the first night of bluescreen photography. We have to shoot at night to control the lighting.


I wasn't able to get the massive thing all taped up and on the wall by myself, so Anthony (pictured) and Christy helped me out. Then I shot a test with Anthony which turned out pretty funny, and might end up in the film.

Today in Southern California was one of the most perfect, clear, warm and windy days I've ever seen.

Now for some reason, pain has decided that my neck is the place to be, and I think bed is the right place for the both of them.

Photos from last Monday


Production photos

1. That's me pretending to show Rick an important thing on a plate.
Note: thing is not really there.

2. That tooth's been trying to come out for weeks.

3. Rich ladies. No - I mean, Rick ladles.


May.9.05 | 12:57 AM

We fired up Christy's laptop for the first time in a while, started a project in Final Cut, dropped in the Roybertito's music file and stuck our Lone Sausage intro at the head (I love that step). Now we have a framework to build on.

I digitized all the footage from the other night and now CB's working on a title card. We were considering using a title with a countdown and a beep like you might have before a real TV commercial, but editors and projectionists getting the film reels ready for festivals might see it and think it's supposed to be cut out. A strange problem to have. We could do all this timecode/countdown/color bars commercial production stuff, but people might believe us and ruin our film.

(Christy and I are now arguing heatedly over whether or not to have a countdown. She's telling me not to write in the journal that there won't be a countdown, because there SO WILL be a countdown.)

(There won't be a countdown.)

I stopped all that puking jazz

May.7.05 | 10:44 PM

I'm on hold waiting for Jason to come back on the line so we can plan his train trip here.

Wait - he's back.

...No trains are available to bring him to Los Angeles, so he's going to hitchhike up Thursday, fully equipped with a despondent look in his eyes and a humorously besloganed (that's not a word) cardboard sign. San Diego drivers: if you want to do the production a big favor, watch for Jason at the 5 North on-ramp near the Toys-R-Us on W. Morena Blvd and give the lad a lift. He tells jokes! Also, I've talked to him, and he's agreed to share his Chex Mix.

Matt has kindly set aside time for us to do some voice recording on the weekend, and if we can squeeze it in we'll shoot some live action stuff as well. Then we're digging deep into our enormous, sweaty budget so Jason can ride a $26 train back on Sunday.


Friday preciousness

May.6.05 | 2:23 AM


Production grinds to a halt when Breehn gets the flu

May.5.05 | 12:44 AM

(See above)


May.3.05 | 5:12 PM

I spent all night vomiting. I may not be through.

(See previous entry)


May.3.05 | 1:30 AM

End Day Two
: I'm eating guacamole that Rick stuck his toe in. Maybe it didn't actually touch. It got really close, and I'm not convinced that bits of toe essence didn't dust the open container a little. But it's 1:30 in the morning, the kitchen is a grisly aftermath of five straight hours of food photography, and it's clearly time for guacamole. I throw caution to the wind.


May.2.05 | 1:29 AM

Day One
: I lost the charger for the camera. Hours were spent at two locations hunting fruitlessly for it. There was enough battery power to shoot a little footage, so I went out to get some shots of, around and inside restaurants in Los Angeles and was very quickly and unceremoniously busted. I got one adequate shot, so it wasn't a complete loss. Los Angeles. Woo. Plans are being set into motion to furtively steal as many shots as possible without having to leave the five-county area.

Tomorrow I have to go pick up some plastic drop cloths, a large wooden cutting board and possibly some green food coloring. I know that's not riveting news but I'm writing it down so I don't forget anything.

Start of Day Two: Camera charger found. Camera charging.


Pee your pants

May.1.05 | 9:56 AM

Today, production of Roybertito's :60 Sec. Spot has officially kind of begun.

Click below for your first exciting peek:


The short will utilize a mix of animation, live action and photography.

<< Back to April 2005 | Roybertito's Pre-production


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