Archive for the misc Category

Meeting An Inspiration

Posted in misc on February 1, 2011 by Richard Diaz

When I was in film school there were two things that oocured which had a huge impact on me. As the end of my school years came to an end I started realizing that my dream of becoming a filmmaker was no closer than it was when I started film school. Sure I learned a few things but specifically I did not know how to get a film off the ground. I started getting scared and wondered what the future held for me. That is, before two things happened.

I have written about reading Robert Rodriguez’s book “Rebel Without A Crew” and how that was a major influence on me to go out and make my own film. But before that happened I needed a certain spark which came from a commentary track off a laserdisc. Still one of my favorites to this very day, the commentary track to William Lustig’s film ‘Manaic’ featuring himself, Tom Savini, Luke Walter, and Lorenzo Marinelli is just so entertaining and informative on how the film was made on a shoestring with so many “stealing the shots” moments. I started to see that I could make my own film. I was looking at things as what I did not have instead of what I did have. Once I started to see the things I did have access to then everything changed for me.

This past weekend I got to go to a screening of ‘Manaic’ on the big screen and finally got the chance to meet director William Lustig and I could not have been more excited or more thrilled. I tried not to become too much of a fan boy as I explained how much he and his film influenced and helped me. It’s hard in general to explain to someone how much they did have an impact on you. I gave him a copy of ‘Distortion’ as a way of saying thank you. He is one of the reasons why I was able to make my film for only $3.000. But also, why I was even making my film to begin with.

Thank you Bill.

Me with filmmaker William Lustig.

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Goodbye Old Friend

Posted in misc with tags , , , , , on December 7, 2010 by Richard Diaz

The HVX on the set of ‘Distortion’.

As I wrote recently over at the ‘Dark Light’ blog I bought a new camera. The Panasonic HPX170 which is similar to my last camera the Panasonic HVX200. Almost like an updated version. It has some newer features and a new chip set. I was selling my old camera and luckily found someone interested.

As I packed up the old HVX200 I started getting a little sad. It was my first HD camera. My first P2 camera. I have had it for four years. I was lucky enough to get it right when it came out. I was among the first people to purchase it. Within that time I shot everything with it including commercials, promotional videos, short films, promotional trailers, and of course my first feature film. Let me tell you this little guy was put through the wringer and came out a winner every time. This camera helped me bring several dreams to light.

I know it might seem odd to get a little emotional about an object but it’s more what it represents. Projects which mean a lot to me personally. I am glad it is going to someone who is excited to use it to start making his own projects. I just hope it continues to make dreams happen for others as it did for me.

Goodbye old friend.

No More Hiding

Posted in misc with tags , , on March 29, 2010 by Richard Diaz

Shooting a shot at the old post office in Gary, IN.

I had one of those moments tonight where reality set in. I spent most of the day working on finishing some editing and music for a short film I co-directed. I guess my head was in that mode so when I called it a night I wanted to settle in with a movie but couldn’t decide what. Instead I opted to throw my own film in. Not because it was my movie of choice to watch but because I wanted to work on it a little. I wanted to see if there was anything left I wanted to alter. There are a few things but one audio mix I do want to adjust. I will do that and then finish the DVD I am making for the actors and a few close friends.

While I was skimming through the movie I was hit with a very intense feeling of nervousness. I was thinking what the film would be like playing in front of an audience. I was trying to see it through their eyes to see if anything stuck out. What it made me realize is that the time has come where other people will now see the film. I will no longer be hiding behind it. There was a sense of anxiety as it is now going to be in front of people and this film that I have spent years of my life getting made will be judged for better or for worse.

You become protective of something you create. Especially when it has so much of yourself in it. However you can also hide behind it which I was able to do. Almost no one has seen the film. I could post a few stills. Cut a trailer using pieces of my choosing. But there was the fact that no one had seen it. Sure a few strangers at a few film festivals deciding if it’ll be shown there but no one I know personally except for one person who saw a rough version. That is about to change. It’s like when you fall in love with someone and you start showing them all parts of you. The good and the bad and you hope they still feel the same way after. I guess it’s a sense of vulnerability which I know goes with the territory. It’s one of the many things that drew me to making movies. Even when you make something for entertainment it’s still going to have part of you in it for everyone to see.

I got the feeling because I know it’s time. The film is done and I need people to see it. I no longer have that safety net of hiding behind the post production title. When people asked when they could see it I could always say it’s getting there or it’ll be done soon. I can’t say that any longer. Here is the film I made. Here is a part of me. For all to see. The good. The bad. And yes, the ugly. This is me, Richard Diaz. And this is my film, ‘Distortion’. No more hiding.

Hey lady! You call him Dr. Jones.

Posted in misc, Post Production, promotion with tags , , , , , , on July 19, 2009 by Richard Diaz

Things have been busy lately. I co-directed, shot, and am editing a short film called ‘Interrogation’ written by Steve Bastien. It’s a dark humored short about two cops interrogating a suspect. One of the cops is none other than Mike Pusateri who plays Sam in ‘Distortion’. He knew Mike and mentioned me to him when he said he wanted to turn ‘Interrogation’ from a one act play into a short film. We shot it in one day at the old police station where I shot part of ‘Distortion’ and part of Michael Mann’s ‘Public Enemies’  used it as well. I have the first cut done so far. More info on that soon.

A still from the short film Interrogation.

A still from the short film 'Interrogation'.

Another still from the short film Interrogation.

Another still from the short film 'Interrogation'.

I’ve been trying to get things lined up for the additional shooting on ‘Distotion’ plus planning out some of the details on the ending. I went back and watched the film again and outside of a few editing tweaks I think everything is set. Although I may end up moving two scenes. I will be recutting the ending as well to help incorporate the new stuff. Right now it just flies by so I’m going to try and extend it. I also think that’s why it feels a little anti-climactic.

A nice side note, I haven’t been overly enthusiastic about this summer’s movies. Usually I love summer entertainment. Outside of ‘Star Trek’ I have been pretty let down. However, The Music Box was showing over the course of three weeks at their weekend midnight shows the Indiana Jones films (‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’, ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Cursade’) which has been an absolute blast. Granted I’ve seen them a million times before but haven’t seen them in a theatre in forever plus with an audience of fans. A lot of fun. In a few weeks they’re showing John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ which I have never seen on the big screen so I am really looking forward to that.

The biggest surprise of the week was receiving an e-mail from the editor of the website Cinema Fantastique, a French horror movie website. He was writing an article on ‘Distortion’ and wanted to use some of the stills from the website. I was so thrilled that I offered to help in any way. He sent me back a question and in my usual way I rambled on. To his credit he only used a snippet. I really need to learn to do small sound bytes. The piece went up on Friday evening (before I saw ‘Dead Snow’ and ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’) but in French. I was looking at it with my iPhone so I wasn’t able to do the translation. I was worried because I saw towards the end the word “retard”. I came to find out that it means “late” in French as opposed to what it means in English. But I was worried for a little bit. Here is the link to the article:

http://www.cinemafantastique.net/INDIE-EYE-Distortion.html

There are many websites online that do translate things for you. I was able to find one. Not sure if the link will work for you but here it is:

http://translate.google.com/translate?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cinemafantastique.net%2FINDIE-EYE-Distortion.html&sl=fr&tl=en <http://translate.google.com/translate?ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF&amp;u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cinemafantastique.net%2FINDIE-EYE-Distortion.html&amp;sl=fr&amp;tl=en>

It’s a really great article. I was so happy with it. It also reminds me as to why I am putting as much effort into the film. I want people to enjoy the film and when I see someone whom I have never met talk about the film this way it makes me want to make sure he is not disappointed. Thank you Damien. It was definitely the highlight of my week.

Wait Five Minutes

Posted in misc with tags , , on June 11, 2009 by Richard Diaz

Don’t like the weather in Chicago? Wait five minutes.

I know several cities use that same joke. I’d say it’s true in a lot of places. But Chicago is odd. There is no real consistency. I’ve lived here for 24 years and it’s been the same way. One year is different than the next. And June is always an odd month. Today is June 11th and it’s cold and rainy. But tomorrow could be hot and sunny.

My point about the weather isn’t about ranting about it. Well, maybe a little. I have decided to push back the additional shooting until next month. Mainly because there is more consitency in the weather. Worse case scenario is I have to deal with rain. So July will be a very busy month. What it does give me though is time to go through and really make sure I know everything I want to shoot still. Also, it’s giving me more time to work on the visual effects as I posted previously. While a lot still needs to be done it is opening up possibilities. I also am rethinking some of the color ideas for the it when it comes to color correction. Of course music is playing a key part. The scenes that are basically done, outside of sound effects and color correction, will be scored sooner than later.

Also, there is a short film I may be shooting soon at the old police station I shot part of ‘Distortion’ at. More details on that coming soon.

That’s My Name

Posted in misc with tags , , , , on May 31, 2009 by Richard Diaz

While I get ready for the remaining things to shoot for ‘Distortion’ I am also in the process of looking for more work. A key to that is having a reel. In this line of work a reel is more important than anything else. Doesn’t matter where you went to school or what is on your resume. It all comes down to how much someone likes your reel. I try and always keep my reel within reason. It’s easy to take something I was marginally involved with and slap it on there. My feeling is if it’s not something I can do or duplicate then I don’t put it on there. And everything in my reel I was involved with. Either I shot it or edited it. Or both.

One thing I wanted for my reel was a new end plate. Basically an effect with my name. Also a good way to show off some After Effects skills. Since it’s summer and the summer movie season is here I decided to go with something a little bit more … flashy. As a friend put it,”Michael Bay presents Richard Diaz.”

I did this in a few hours the other day. The sparks worked really well. I think they’ll look better once I get Particular. I used Particle World inside After Effects and I liked it. It’s just Particular gives you more options for the particles. Or sparks in this effect. The plug in Twitch from VideoCoPilot.net came in handy. I thought it was done but I wanted something else. So I added Twitch and chose the brightness option which gave it that pulsating light as if the sparks are being created above. For me it just brought the whole thing to life.

Gearing up for more ‘Distortion’ stuff in a bit. Stay tuned!

No One Likes A Thankless Job

Posted in misc with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2009 by Richard Diaz

A little side thing today.

90 Day Delinquents is doing the very first shadowcast of REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA on April 10 at The Music Box Theatre here in Chicago at midnight. Being a huge fan of REPO! I offered my help in promoting so I did a video for them to use. Unfortunately work and a few other things made me take a lot longer to do it but I was able to get it done in time with two weeks to spare. Here it is:

Be there if you can. It’ll be a lot of fun.

As far as the film goes I will be having some more updates soon. Just had some other things to do but I will be back in full DISTORTION mode soon.