Tag Archives: Photography

Elemental

Everything changes but awareness of a change is, in effect, after the ‘fact’…change is opinion, has to be (fairly) widely recognized before it is official and to quote William Gibson, “While science fiction is sometimes good at predicting things, its seldom good at predicting wha these things might actually do to us.”

I might be author of more doom-and-gloom-from-beneath-the-weight-of-the-oppressiony than anything else; drama over comedy. My classic toppings are science fiction (which I thoroughly research before really writing the script. It took me two years to write the original draft of Blackline, almost eleven months to do the research and reading alone. Which is how I began getting invited to attend Nanotechnology conferences. It was my relentless curiosity and extreme adoration for social trends (and innovations) as well as ethics that found me speaking to a room full of professors at George Mason University in 2011.

Back to my original idea, so yeah, my stuff you can expect the setting to be a near-future where control of the world is in the hands of people with highly questionable ethics. Beneath, the same old issues are right there. Conflicting, arising from different world views and biologies – and war is always ‘on the verge’ of happening (unless it’s on) but the story always with the ‘better’ people fighting to take the world back.

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My scripts and films might kick, blast and crush hope but I don’t take it away; I have a soft spot for it in my grey old heart.  “Apocrypha” is my latest film trilogy and its the closest to fantasy I’ve ever written but it also involves time travelers, dragons, vampires, ninjas and elements of our present-day world like narcotics, skyscrapers and even a form of MP3 players – music is always a key factor in the stuff I write.

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The world today is as dangerous as it is inspiring…the examination of how far we’ve come; Atari to X-Box 360, landlines to blue-tooth ear-pieces so that we can have both hands free while talking with others on cell phones (see: Moore’s Law) … and the reconstructed documentary, formerly about the ethical implications of nanotechnology is more counterpart to Apocrypha than “The Posthuman Condition” was to “Blackline.”

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Technology is arguably the primary ingredients to society’s progress but it’s what we do with it that initiates the next Change. For better worse, the world is approaching another change. We can’t prepare for it in any traditional sense but we can keep an eye out: the first signs will be in the media that has become such a part of everyday life: I consider “Game of Thrones” to be one of the most promising as far as morals, ethics, etc go…it’s about struggle, it’s about sacrifice, it’s about love and hate and all that plus it has dragons but it’s underlying themes about the choices we make are one of my favorite things to sniff out.

It’s four days to the 3rd to final episode of Season Four and anyone who’s read the books has a pretty good idea of what’s gonna happen but we don’t know precisely how it will happen – the show has cut the right parts and characters to leave out, in my opinion. Life is like that show; like any show – we’re always waiting to see what happens next.

And now I’m tired so I would just like to say, I’ve been so very wrong about so many things – some weird bits of architecture in Arlington, Virginia are a good example but that’s another story – but right now, today, at this point, two women that I have never met face to face or spoken with over the phone have given me a kind of hope that could not have existed before the internet as we know it today. Jimena Paris, from Santiago and Ella Valentine, from London.

Some things you never can predict. And it’s always amazing to see how these surprises alter our lives…changing them.

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From the Outside

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Have you ever watched a dark fluid soak upward? It appears to crawl, to pour in the wrong direction. The horror of being close to someone is that its eventuality is exactly that. Doesn’t matter if it’s a secret, a facet of their personality they normally keep hidden away or someone they know who is a disaster waiting to happen or a simple bad decision.

From outside the glass outside the air bubbles, everything is More. I manipulate light with different flashlights, LED ropes and even a candle and watch the shadows and colors slide up the inside face of the air bubbles in the glass and keep remembering what happened when the dark got inside of me. I can – and usually do – chase it around but it never goes away and then I remember that I realized a long time ago that pain is pretty much elemental to moving forward as a person.

But sometimes you get far enough that anybody around is not to be trusted – and the ones you relied on haven’t betrayed you, they’ve simply become other people. And it’s time to start screwing with the light – that’s partly why I’m so obsessed with contrast in my photography. Why sunrise is bedtime and sunset is when my brain and mind sync.

I live in the dark and watch what happens out there in the light. For best results expect the worst. My 1st freshman year of high school there was a girl – long story short, I wrote something about her and for her. Every so often, in films or songs, I hear echoes of it (“there’s two tragedies in life: never getting what we want – and getting it”) and take a morbid comfort in knowing someone else has felt it and realized it / recognized it for what it is: something that you simply won’t ever have. The thing I wrote for Vicki was this:

“The things that I want and the things that I get are the only two things that never connect.”

I was right about that but I’ve been wrong about so many other things – it’s crazy how good it can be to be wrong. That’s probably why I bother acknowledging the light and what happens out there in it. And probably has some intrinsic connection to why I can’t sleep – why I don’t want to sleep. But that’s for another time.

Building “Blackline” (1 of 2)

“Blackline” began as a series of mental images I saw in my head throughout several years of hard partying nights clubbing in an area of Washington DC that was not NW. I first saw the word Nanotechnology in a book by William Gibson, “Idoru”

Then September 11th, 2001 happened.

Then the only girl I believed I could spend the rest of my life with died.

And then I got an agent, meetings were set but that fell through quite hard and I got involved with a strikingly pretty girl who closed me off to the world and opened me up to just how fast a downward spiral can occur and how engaging it can be to just give up and give in to dismissal of reality.

So everything shattered and then it was summer 2002 and I began looking at the pieces scattered all around and I saw something else; all of the above and a hell of a lot more began to rearrange and stack up and that’s how “Blackline” started.

It is now a multi-platform scifi-drama set in a world controlled by corporate city-states who wage a different kind of warfare to control the newest biotechnology and shadowy agents fence stolen data. Seven full length screenplays, a cable network series and three video games.

What’s been shot is an extended trailer and a prequel which is made up entirely of material deleted from the 1st screenplay (to get the story moving faster)…that piece is called “Blackline: Michelle” and yeah, even that got severely truncated to save time however, the ‘polite quickie’ cut is on my writer/director/producer/editor/dp demo reel, “polarized entropy”
Attached here are some stills from the production of the extended trailer; we used two aircraft hangars, hotels, office buildings, high-rise conference rooms and a hell of a lot more. And believe you me, it took metric fuckton of talking and paperwork to get it done…

And now there’s enough of it to make a pitch but we’re not there just yet.

NYC – Oct 2012

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Two black and white shots from October 2012, headed into Manhattan on the last day of filming for my documentary – both are in my “New York I” photography book. The 2nd edit of ‘Posthuman’ is being shot (or, reshot) at this time. Lots of time in Final Cut Pro 7 and X. The finalized layout for the “New York I” book is at:

http://www.blurb.com/books/5000604-nyc-i-october-16th-24th-2012

NYC photography book (intro essay)

 

My 1st photography collection book is complete – I have two designed but may integrate them into one…but, for your consideration, here’s the introduction essay…

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On October 16th, 2012 at approximately 5pm, I arrived at the Jay Street Metrotech station in Brooklyn. The purpose of my trip was to conduct several key interviews for a documentary film project (then titled, ‘The Posthuman Condition’ and focused on Nanotechnology). The documentary’s subtext-point was to pose ethical questions about genetic engineering as presented in “Blackline” a series of feature films set in a dystopian near-future controlled by corporations.

 

Don Henley had forewarned me about everything changing in a New York minute (a lyric specifically referenced in ‘Blackline’) and I love improvisation but its easy to forget that improvising is what happens when something goes wrong. On the 24th, before catching my train back to Union Station in Washington DC, a five minute meet-and-greet at the documentary film department at HBO turned into a pre-production meeting which lasted for well over an hour. 

 

When I left the HBO headquarters, the rain, which had already been falling for a day or so, was coming down noticeably harder. Also, I missed my train back to DC and had to buy another ticket for the return trip (a problem I was destined to encounter again). When I arrived in DC, it was raining, the Metro was closed and there weren’t any affordable hotel rooms.

 

Thanks to a friend, I was able to spend the night on the ceilinged rooftop terrace of a luxurious hotel overlooking NW Washington DC, watching Dexter on my iPad until the Metro opened at 5am. I slept for a day and when I woke up on October 25th, the world had changed.

 

When I returned to New York for re-shoots in August of 2013, there would still be damage from Sandy. I suppose there always will be – but I also recall a conversation from the 23rd at the bar of the “W” hotel, nursing a third Jack and Coke. Don’t precisely recall how I ended up talking with a business consultant but I do recall that he told me the talk of the incoming hurricane was irrelevant because “this is New York.”

 

I didn’t know exactly what he meant but I believed him. We tapped glasses and he ordered another round and a New York minute had occurred. That was the first time I heard about Hurricane Sandy.

 

Like the city that existed before September 11th, the version of New York I experienced that week is a territory no road – or rail – can reach. Post-Sandy New York can be called stronger or taller but my interpretation is simpler. It isn’t that it’s a city capable of being renewed: it is New. 

 

That’s what New York is to me. 

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Hope you like – here’s a link to preview (and if you wish, to purchase) the book…

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/4220039/6c94804b58ddf00665861c6ef8d0fc655461a174

Thanks!

Sincerely,

The Bass Meant Dude