PROJECT STATUS: In Release
06.27.03 - The award winners of the Rock River Film Festival have been announced:
BEST OF THE FEST: "Please Wait to Be Seated" by Lauren Pollock and Casper Rice
RUNNER UP: "Raven 2" by Colin Clarke
HONERABLE MENTION: "Moja Babcia" by Paul "Pablo" Dyer and Kyle Wolfe.
06.04.03 - RAVEN 2 will screen as part of the ROCK RIVER FILM FESTIVAL 2003 in Rockford, IL on June 27-29th, and July 5-6 at the Storefront Cinema. Ryan Wummel, myself, and members of the cast will try to make as many screenings as possible. Thanks to Kevin Cronin for the invitation!
05.25.03 - The DVD is ready to go! To get one, just click the DVD icon on the menu bar to the left. I can take credit card orders through PayPal - if you get errors with the PayPal checkout, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
05.23.03 - The DVD release of RAVEN & RAVEN 2 is just around the corner. The disc will inlcude: widescreen anamorphic (2.35:1) transfers (16x9 enhanced) versions of both movies, Dolby Digital 2.0 surround, production notes, animated menus, chapter selection, and original trailers. If you're interested in getting a copy, keep it tuned right here - there should be an announcement within the week.
05.01.03 - RAVEN and RAVEN 2 are now available via streaming download from PPCVIDZ.COM. You can find them under SHORT FILMS>R>
04.30.03 - RAVEN 2 will be appearing at this year's RENDERFEST in Toronto, Canada as part of the North American screening block! It will be screening July 26 & 27 at the Town Hall Theatre. Thanks to Julian Grant for the invitiation!
02.28.03 - Better late than never: Ryan and I are working on a RAVEN / RAVEN 2 double feature DVD. It's still probably a ways off before you'll actually see this DVD, since no extras, menus, etc have been decided on or designed yet; and we're working on determining which of the available authoring programs offers the best bang for the buck. Keep you posted . . .
02.02.03 - RAVEN 2 will be appearing at a few more film festivals this year. We're waiting for confirmation before anything is posted, but check back here for all the latest.
01.06.03 - Happy New Year! The Saints & Sinners 2 film festival website has been updated with a list of winners from 2002's fest, and name RAVEN 2 the winner of 4 awards, including Best Directing (Animated Film), Art Direction, Visual Effects and Musical Score.
12.04.02 - A review of the Saints and Sinners 2 film festival has appeared online, with a mention of RAVEN 2. You can check it out here.
11.05.02 - RAVEN 2 is going to Florida for the SAINTS & SINNERS 2 film festival. It will be playing on the big screen at 5pm in the State Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, November 30th. You can find out all of the details by going here http://www.renegadefilms.net. Thanks to Rick Danford for the opportunity!
11.01.02 - See RAVEN 2 on IFILM!
10.20.02 - RAVEN 2 is available as an MPEG download on PocketMovies.net!
09.23.02 - RAVEN 2 makes it's Internet debut, on UrbanChillers.com . You can find the Quicktime movie in the Dark Tales From the City section. Head on over there and check it out!!
The limited edition SuperVideoCD's have sold out, and due to the fact that I'm hearing most DVD players can't handle them, they've been discontinued.
09.13.02 - According to Stephen Zimmer, who ran the Midwest Music Conference & Film Festival, RAVEN 2 was runner up for Best Soundtrack (Score) - a fact that was supposed to be announced this week, but where I don't know. Congratulations to Ryan on this recognition! The winner was Darren Doane's BROKEN, starring Michael Madsen.
We're still waiting for the Internet debut of RAVEN 2. Within the coming weeks it should be showing up on at least three different Internet movie sites.
If you want to be notified as to when RAVEN 2 does go online, drop me a line at email@example.com
08.28.02 - We have returned from the MMCFF and we had a blast. The people of Kentucky are some of the most nicest you'll ever meet. We met a lot of fellow filmmakers and musicians, and had the tremendous thrill of watching RAVEN and RAVEN 2 in a movie theater. There were a couple of representatives from Film Music Magazine present as judges, and I was told RAVEN 2 was a finalist for some type of award, but the details are sketchy and the winner has yet to be announced. I'll keep you posted.
I've been bit by the festival bug - I'm going to be sending it out to more across the country, so it may turn up somewhere near you over the course of the next year.
08.17.02 - For those of you who will be in the Lexington, KY area Aug 24th, here's where you can see RAVEN and RAVEN 2:
Saturday, August 24th
- Raven will be playing as part of an animation / CGI program that starts at 4:30 in the Lexington Public Library Downtown Theater
- Raven will be playing at Reel Deal Cinemas Screen 2 at 7:25pm
- Raven 2 will be playing at Reel Deal Cinemas Screen 2 at 8pm
08.16.02 - Posted the screenplay in Word format in the Gallery. Don't read it until after you've seen the movie or you may spoil some suprises!
08.14.02 - RAVEN 2 is in the bag! Finished up the final sound mix last night, and the masters have been made. Whew! I'll be showing it to the cast this weekend before we pack it in and head for Kentucky. It's going to be a kick watching it on the big screen.
The internet version should be showing up within the next month or so. I'll be sending out the tapes this week to all the interested hosting sites I can find. Once it goes online, I'll open up The Screening Room, so you can check it out right from this site.
07.31.02 - Posted Ryan Wummel's main title cue on the Gallery page, in MP3 format.
07.23.02 - RAVEN 2 is set to premiere at the Midwest Music Conference and Film Festival in Lexington, KY. The event, sponsored by the likes of IFC, Pinnacle Systems, Insight Communications and a host of others, runs August 21-24 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. There will also be a screening of the original RAVEN.
On top of all of that, I've been invited to participate in a couple of panel discussions (gulp). Both Ryan Wummel and myself will be attending, so if you're in the area, stop by and say hey.
Big thanks to Mr. Stephen Zimmer for the invitation!
I can't give a date for when the internet version of the film will arrive. We're currently working hard to have it done in time for the conference, but you can expect it to show up on line sometime shortly thereafter.
07.20.02 - Some good news regarding RAVEN 2 and some other big news coming soon...
07.16.02 - The effects track is basically done; I'm fairly satisfied with it, but would be more so if I had a couple hundred dollars to invest in a real sound effects library. Oh well, you've gotta make do with what you've got - and it still is, in my opinion at least, a better produced track than the first movie. I'm beginning to bring the actors back to do "grunt work", which is a good old time wherein they get to sit infront of a microphone at my desk and grunt, pant and make other strange noises that will work their way into the final audio mix.
Ryan is still hard at work on the music, but his new schedule limits just how much time he can put into it. Therefore, the actual release date for RAVEN 2 is probably a good couple of months away. At this point I have heard the three cues I mentioned previously, and again feel that they're superior to what you heard in the previous film.
During this blissful downtime, I've been tossing around ideas for what to do next (must have filmmaking in the blood - it's an obsession that won't stop!), whether it be live action (which I haven't attempted since a disasterous 1998 video misfire called GOTHIK) or animation. I am kind of fond of the idea of producing more of these "Comics That Move", since you can easily overcome the limitations of a poverty-budget live-action shoot by making movies that take place at any time or place, real or imagined. But what is sacrificed is the immediacy of the physical performances, and a good deal of time. Whatever the future may bring, it will definately be something that I can finish up in better time than this monstrosity!
07.10.02 - The sound effects track is almost finished, and it's about 50 times better than what you heard in the first RAVEN. I hope to be done with it by next week. After that, I'll begin processing the voice work.
07.02.02 - Just a quick update . . . I'm about halfway through the sound effects portion of the audio track, but the most fx intensive portion is coming up. Ryan had three cues finished last time I talked to him, so things are off to a good start. More as it happens . . .
06.25.02 - Met with Ryan last night and reviewed the latest cut of the film. We're putting together estimates on when we should have this thing finished. I'm currently hard at work recording new sounds and manipulating old sounds for sound effects. This part of movie-making is a blast - telling the story in ambience alone. More later . . .
06.23.02 - Ok, at this point, there is a full length cut of RAVEN 2 residing on my computer, so the Project Status line above officially changes to Post Production. The current running time is 20 minutes. At this point, before the audio work begins in earnest, I plan to watch and rewatch the film to try and figure out where the weak spots are - and once I have them located, can I live with them or do they need to be changed? My biggest concern is the ending, which happens at such a fast clip the movie seems to end before you know it. So, I still may need to go back and create more animation to pad things out. Or, it may just need a good sound mix to lay over it.
06.20.02 - I am five shots away from being done with the animation on this beast, at which time I'll be able to leave get out of this rut and move into the more pleasurable domain of post-production. It's time I came clean for the record - I hate this movie. I have since about six months into it, at which point all of my enthusiasm for the project was used up . . . there have been scattered moments of inspiration here and there, but it really has been a 600 pound gorilla on my back. Maybe it was a bad decision to make another animated movie; maybe it was a bad decision to do a sequel; who knows - but this thing has been killing me.
The first RAVEN was done in a marathon run of between six and eight months; this new one has been a start / stop affair that's consumed nearly two years of my life. Despite all of this, I'm still told that it's a better movie that those that have gone before it, so who knows - maybe in a year or two it'll look better. I do look forward to doing the editing, sound fx and music mixing, however - perhaps these are the areas I'd be best suited for if I went into film production as a career. I'll keep you posted . . .
06.09.02 - Keeping my head down as I bulldoze through the final moments of animation. I've been keeping pretty good time. I'm still worried that the movie will make no sense without watching the first movie directly before hand - maybe I'll set up my own series of "test screenings" when I have this first edit done just to see how it plays.
I am also amazed by the amount of completed animation that I'm not using in this edit; while making the first movie I virtually used all of the footage that was created - here I'm refining the cut by removing frames and sometimes seconds in order to alter the pace of a scene.
05.23.02 - Just completed another 5 seconds of The Final Battle sequence, which brings us down to just over one page of script left to go. I keep hoping that I can say I'll be done by the end of the current month, but it keeps dragging on and on and on. It kills the spirit to move so quickly on the rest of the movie (in comparison) and to go from churning out a minute or so per week to a mere couple of seconds. I am getting a crash course in visual effects compositing, however.
05.05.02 - Okay, I have gotten ahead of myself. I was going to work on the movie this weekend, but ended up putting together a trailer instead. Check out the new trailer page here.
05.01.02 - I have been on a hot streak, completing almost 20 seconds of crucial animations. It's nice to have this kind of pace. This is the kind of thing I was doing during the first RAVEN - where basically all free time is spent at the computer. Let's see how long I can keep this going . . . at this rate I could be done in a month (but don't count on it).
04.27.02 - We are moving steadily towards animating the final battle. Almost all of the characters are in there places for the endgame. Spent much of this week working on an 8 second sequence that consisted of about 10 layers (mostly time consuming fire effects). There is a page and a half of script left to bring to the screen, but it consists mostly of action direction. The staging of multiple things going on simultaneously is giving me a headache.
04.18.02 - Just got the computer back up after a catastrophic hardware collapse that put me out for about 2 weeks. RAVEN 2 has survived, although work is once again stalled. I expect to be getting back to it by Monday, though! Ryan is currently working on the soundtrack, using the assembled 3/4 of the movie to work from. Hopefully he doesn't finish scoring it before I'm done animating it!
03.22.02 - Due to the complexity of the staging and animation required for each shot of this final action sequence, I'm moving forward in terms of seconds completed ... Spent all this week on three brief shots which will run a total of 5 seconds. This is why I enjoy dialogue scenes more - you actually feel you've accomplished something when you're done. Action sequences take a lot of time to set up, and have to be done piecemeal in itty bitty little chunks. I'm working on a shot right now where someone uses a lit torch to set another person on fire.
03.15.02 - This isn't a real update - just a note to say that work is still progressing (slowly) on RAVEN2. Each shot of this last sequence has turned out to be a special effects composite shot, and thus must be rendered in multiple passes. I can see the end, but it still looks to be a long ways off. However, the movie is in a finished enough form for me to have turned a copy over to Mr. Ryan Wummel, who will be providing the original score. More as it happens . . .
02.18.02 - Posted a clip from the shot from hell on the Multimedia page. You may not be able to make it out, but it's an overhead shot of the church. It consists of six composited layers. Whew! Now, onto the next shot!
02.17.02 - Had to toss out 3 days worth of renders because I incorrectly planned for a special effect; I am reworking it now using full cheat mode (finding ways to keep resources free and to speed up renders), and I'm almost half-way caught up. I'll try to post some of this 14 second shot once I get it finished.
02.14.02 - I may have bitten off more than I can chew. The chapel set with all of the characters, props and textures included has generated a file 104MB big. It takes 5 minutes to load, and hogs up about 700MB of system RAM (which I don't have - so I've had to create a 2GB swapfile on my harddrive). Each frame is taking about 10 minutes to render . . . and I only have animation done for the first 14 seconds. Argh. Initially I thought I could be done in 2 months. We'll see if that still holds water . . .
02.06.02 - The chapel set is turning out to be one of the most complicated in the movie so far. I'm lighting it now, and hope to put finishing touches on it by tomorrow. Then, the layout begins.
I think I've solved the fire problem. I'm going to try and use Panopticum's Fire. It's a plugin for After Effects which can create a raging inferno off an image's Alpha channel.
02.05.02 - Began constructing the last set in the film, a satanic chapel. Still trying to work out how to do the fire effects . . .
02.01.02 - Finished off another sequence, which is actually the last scene in the movie. This leaves only the 3-5 minute final battle scene left to go. The reason for the delays is this scene in question, because it's big, complicated, and I haven't quite gotten my head around just how to do it.
I also completed the end credit crawl in kind of a grunge art / distressed film look to match the film's opening title sequence.
A couple of new stills have been added to the Multimedia / Image Gallery.
12.12.01 - Completed two sequences since last entry; leaving only the last (and most complicated - ugh) sequence in the movie, and a short end piece left to work on. I think I'll tackle the coda first, as soon as I can figure out the best way to go about it.
11.28.01 - Although I managed to cap off a short scene over the weekend, the one I'm working on now is taking a bit longer. It could be due to the short lengths of time I'm able to find to work on it, but I seem to make marginal progress each time I return to it. The scene in question is a dialogue exchange between Raven and one of her captors; I haven't built the set yet, but am animating the characters and camera placement in advance.
Also, I added some bogus band artwork, which is featured in the background of one scene, on the multimedia pictures page.
11.26.01 - Resumed work on RAVEN2, after a much needed rest. Hopefully I can build up some momentum to carry me through to the end of the film. As of this point in time, there remains 2 incidental sequences and one major setpiece - that being the film's climactic battle - left to be completed. I expect the final sequence alone will take a couple of months. With any luck, I'll be well into it by the first of the year.
Haven't given much thought to a trailer yet. I think I'm going to hold off until I have some footage from the finale before I get into that.
I have begun doing some sound effects editing, just to test out the waters. I have a preliminary mix for the first few scenes, but I think I'll hold off on the bulk of the work until after I've finished the core production phase. The running time of the current build of the movie is 15 minutes.
08.26.01 - Finished a major sequence; am one scene away from being officially 3/4 way through the movie. Even though it's an animated movie where everything is planned in advance, it's amazing how much footage is being excised or replaced. We may be talking only a couple of seconds worth, but still - it seems odd to me that there should be any. I think on the first RAVEN I pretty much used everything that I rendered - here, I'm trimming the length of certain shots and replacing shots in the middle of sequences with revised ones.
08.11.00 - Working on some special effects transformation effects, which are being done in After Effects; currently, I'm creating one of the most complicated animation sequences I've done to this point, which involves multiple characters in action, lots of special lighting and a trucking camera. It'll be interesting to see how this one turns out.
08.09.01 - We're rolling full steam ahead - which is a change of pace, since recently I've been moaning a lot about the amount of time required to make this movie. Since it's being done over such a long stretch, I need to have interesting new items thrown into the mix at regular intervals to get my enthusiasm up. This week that came with the arrival of a character named Andariel. . . After seeing some of the finished footage (which I've been mixing sound effects into on the side), my wife tells me its one of the better things I've done.
07.20.01 - Believe it or not, I'm still working on the movie, even though forever and a day passes between these updates. During the making of the first film, I was living out of an apartment; now I'm in a house which demands a lot more attention. Seems there's hundreds of other things I need to be working on, so RAVEN2 is getting the short end of the stick. It will be finished one day, but getting there is like pushing a large boulder up a steep hill. I'm working at a rate of approximately 20 seconds of new material per week.
07.12.01 - I'm finally at the point where I get to work on The Lady herself from here on out, which is something to look forward to. Expect her to have a more aggressive, darker personality in this movie - more in keeping with her demonic origins.
07.03.01 - Working on a sequence now that will be a test bed for the film's climax; both involve extensive special lighting effects inside Poser itself, and further visual effects to be added in post. Right now, I'm working on a series of flashlight beams, lens flares and flame effects.
06.27.01 - With the completion of the first set of Fixx scenes, we've officially reached the midway point on RAVEN2. The first section is being sent of to Ryan so he can get a feel for the music; I'm also happy to announce the inclusion of songs from ONLY FLESH on the soundtrack. You can find out all about them by following this link to the ONLY FLESH website.
06.14.01 - It's getting harder to find time to make updates - the computer is constantly bogged down by rendering. I'm working on a lengthy sequence that involves Fixx's first appearance. I anticipate being done with it (and therefore the first section of the movie) hopefully in 3 weeks.
06.07.01 - Completed a "bridge" sequence of expository dialogue between two key sequences; this brings our unbroken running time on the first half to about 8 minutes. There are almost 13 minutes of finished footage at this point; I anticipate the final film will run somewhere around 20 minutes. There is one more major sequence (which involves some visual effects) that has to be completed for Part I; With any luck, I'll be able to begin working on it this weekend.
06.03.01 - The montage of shots I have been working on is now finished. After showing 10 minutes of the film to friends, I've discovered a couple of other things I have to go back and fix for clarification. Also, I've finally figured out how to generate convincing CGI rain with After Effects - you can find the shot in the multimedia section. My goal is to be officially at the halfway point by the end of June. I have approximately a minute and a half of material finished from the second half, and must build around it.
05.27.01 - Rambling forward, as always - but slowly, oh so slowly. Am trying to clear out a montage of shots and short sequences that occur near the beginning of the film; in doing so, I hope to bridge some of the completed scenes and finally be able to have a couple minutes of uninterrupted narrative. Not there yet, but close. Am hoping that once I have these opening minutes, I can shuttle them over to Ryan to see what musical moods they put him in. There's still a long way to go till the end of the movie though - I have my doubts that it will be finished by the end of this year. There is a large, special effects filled climax looming large in my minds eye - and I still have only the vaguest idea on how to make it work.
05.22.01 - Making some headway in the story department; with the inclusion of the most recent set of shots, I have something that has begun to resemble a coherent narrative (eight minutes worth, at least). It goes by pretty quick, but it's densely packed with information - my worry is that the audience may not be able to follow it very well. Also, recorded the final portions of Detective Wynn's part, and capped off the voice recordings with that of Anne the Social Worker; all production dialogue is now in the can.
05.18.01 - Been working on a number of shots that will make up a montage sequence that takes place early in the film. Each of the shots (with the exception of a fly-over of the city) is actually a composite using multiple layers and actual photographic backplates. This saves time in constructing heavily detailed sets for just 5 seconds of screentime.
05.15.01 - Completed a composite of the revised club scene; there's definately a lot more party goers this time. Also, am working at fixing up a rendering error I detected in an earlier scene.
05.14.01 - Finished the scene in Wynn's office, and have returned to the nightclub scene for a reworking. The initial version of the scene, which follows our hero through the club, is laughably devoid of club patrons; my latest attempt involves creating layers of dancing patrons, all of which will be composited around the main characters in After Effects. Thanks to Mike Morrison, for the suggestion . . .
05.09.01 - Work resumes. I've constructed a rudimentary office for Detective Wynn, and am working on a scene that takes place there. It will probably take me through the end of this week. At some point, am hoping to get some time to put some new stuff up on the site.
05.03.01 - Finished moving into new house; plan to resume work on RAVEN2 early next week.
04.26.01 - Opening sequence finished. Taking time off from the project for a week in order to move. More info as it happens . . .
04.23.01 - Still working on the movie's opening sequence, which involves the aftermath of a brutal murder in a motel room. It's coming along well. Also, completed yet another version of the main title sequence, again constructed entirely in After Effects; I now have 3 versions to choose from and still haven't decided for sure which one's the keeper.
04.18.01 - Working on the first sequence of the movie, the first involving Lt. Wynn. Twenty seconds finished so far; am in need of one final voice before I can begin editing the sound together for the scene.
04.13.01 - Have finished a workable main title sequence, using After Effects, that incorporates ghostly double images and violent insert sequences. Hopefully it will set the mood. Also, recorded portions of Lt. Wynn's voice, and am going back and re-rendering 3 shots from an early scene to fix a newly discovered problem.
04.09.01 - Club walkthrough is finished, though not as detailed as I would have hoped. The amount of extra figures initially planned for would have required a much faster PC system than I currently have access to. It's short and should serve it's purpose though.
04.06.01 - Working on the interior of the club - currently the Poser file is 70MB in size and growing! I'm having to adjust my system's virtual memory accordingly - when loaded, the scene is eating up more than 250MB of RAM and is slowing the PC down to a crawl. Will have to render out a series of tests before doing the final render on this one, since at the slow playback speed I am unable to determine if everything is in place and responding properly. The idea was to populate the club with dozens of extras, but that has become unfeasable. Now, I'm just trying to put figures in the visible areas of the frame, and use lots of close ups.
04.04.01 - The bookstore sequence is finished (scene 012 - constituting about 2 weeks worth of work), so I've moved on to the construction of 2 sets - the alleyway entrance to the Dungeon nightclub, and the interior of the club itself. With a portion of the alley constructed, I've taken to animating the first of 3 short sequences that happen there during the course of the movie. The interior of the club is still just a vague collection of walls and angles - it needs a good interior decorator (and that ain't me).
03.30.01 - Still working on the bookstore sequence - the shadows are increasing the rendering times, but the end result looks great. Have about 1 minute of sequence done so far - probably another 30 seconds to go.
03.26.01 - First 38 seconds of scene 012 completed, with 7 minutes worth of animation finished to date.
03.23.01 - Working on building the bookstore set for Foster's encounter with Angelyne. A brief sequence, involving Foster running across a street to the store has been completed.
03.18.01 - First section (22 sec) of scene 018 finished. Second half animated (consisting of 811 frames) and awaiting render.
03.14.01 - Scene 025 finished. Simultaneously working on animating Scene 028 (the last scene using the current set), and building a portion of a city block for the next scene, 018.
03.10.01 - First part of Scene 025 finished, running 29 seconds. Just finished a week long animation on the second half, which consists of over 1400 frames. Will probably tie up the computer for 2-3 days while it renders out.
03.04.01 - Scene 002 in the can; second half of the scene, which runs 33 seconds, took 30 hours to render - consisting of over 900 individual frames. Images are rendered at size of 704x300 widescreen, saved as individual Photoshop files (each 885k in size) at 24fps. Using After Effects to upconvert to 29.97fps (NTSC - upper/lower fields); New to RAVEN2 is the use of motion blur for enhanced realism.
03.01.01 - As of today, have about 90 seconds worth of final rendered animation. Took 10 hours to render 22 second clip; constitutes the first section of "Scene 002". Final film should be about 30 minutes in length.
Finalized post-render image filtration process, which involves desaturating the image and adding film grain.
02.26.01 - Lucas Foster voice recorded; scene 009 rendered; scene 002 animated and going through rendering stages. Total of 31 scenes in movie.
02.20.01 - Raven voice recorded; Animation for scene "009 Graff's Apartment" finished and ready for final render.
02.17.01 - Fixx voice recorded
02.16.01 - Poizon voice recorded.
02.15.01 - Finished Graff's Apartment set.
02.11.01 - Hades Club drawing room set constructed.
02.10.01 - Motel Room set built.
02.09.01 - Vargas and Angelyne voices recorded.
02.07.01 - Revised Second Draft Completed; Lieutenant Wynn model designed
02.06.01 - New Raven and Poizon models designed.
02.05.01 - Second Draft of Screenplay completed.
02.03.01 - Preliminary Szandor Vargas and Mystery Woman models designed.
01.27.01 - Preliminary Graff and Fixx models designed.
01.25.01 - Screenplay revision underway - 2/3 complete.
01.15.01 - Preliminary Lucas Foster and Angelyne models designed.
01.12.01 - First Draft Screenplay Completed