More big news! I recently acquired the rights to adapt Paul Hornschemeier‘s comic We Were Not Made For This World for use in my three part film anthology The Robot Scriptures. This news is very exciting as I have been a big fan of his work for a long time now.
We Were Not Made For This World centers on a lone robot in the future who has left his life at the factory in search of his creator in the desert lands outside his robot city.
Hornschemeiers story is to be part II (of three) of The Robot Scriptures.
It is a story about the transitional, the middle ground, the half way. Yearning, longing, questioning, thinking, feeling. It is about the gaining of knowledge outside human influence, striving to know why they (we) exist, where they (we) came from, what else is out there, exploration. A yearning for knowledge of the unknown. To make sense of it all.
And so I embark on the films creation.
I will be shooting the piece as a live-action short. Tina Matthews, a wonderfully instinctive Costume Designer, will be working on the costume for the shoot, which will take place soon in the Great Sand Dunes National Park outside Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The film will be released towards the end of Summer 2014, after part III, The Long Slow Flight of the Ashbot, is released (parts I, II, and III are being released in reverse chronological order).
He’s been nominated for the Harvey, Eisner, and Ignatz awards.
“An ascending star… [Hornschemeier] leaps into an elite group of current cartoonists — including Kyle Baker and Oak Park’s Chris Ware — whose versatility and verve push the art form into exciting new territory… Hornschemeier doesn’t simply push the panel edges of the comics medium; he designs entirely off the page, encouraging other creators to join him over the horizon.” – Chicago Tribune
For those of you interested in reading We Were Not Made For This World by Paul Hornschemeier – it is featured in the incredible comic anthology Project: Telstar, published by AdHouse books. It is also in the award winning series Forlorn Funnies (#5).
I came across this wonderful old hangar in the middle of rural Illinois and had to get my camera out…
Back in the late 60s and 70s when NASA was sending U.S. Astronauts to the moon, some unbelievable large format photographs were taken. I was parsing through the Apollo 15 mission photos and came across some incredible panoramas I had to share…
Just a little inspiration for The Robot Scriptures…
More of these images can be found via NASA on the Apollo 15 mission site (free to use and greatfully paid for by your tax dollars):
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/History/alsj/a15/ Thank you to Kipp Teague for doing most of the scanning.
A woman confronts death in the wilderness.
“In every parting there is a latent germ of madness” – Goethe 1788
Written & Directed by: Colin West McDonald
2013 / USA / Stoker Motion Pictures / 16:33
Shot on location in:
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park – Tasmania, Australia &
Fiordland National Park – Southland, New Zealand
More about the making of the film can be found on this post.
Sometimes you find real gems floating around the studio…
This one was a quick shot sketch from The Robot Scriptures.
Aronld Dreyblatt, the extremely talented American Composer and Fine Artist living in Berlin, Germany, has allowed me to use three of his tracks (from his most recent album, Choice [Choose Records, Berlin]) to be used to score my upcoming short film The Latent Germ of Madness.
I have been a listening to Dreyblatt for a few years now and am particularly partial to his use of unique instrumentation, unabashed playing lengths, and repetitive, trance-like patterning. A wonderful voice in sound.
[from MIT, where Dreyblatt is currently in residence as an artist in CAST, the Center for Art, Science, & Technology]:
Arnold Dreyblatt is an American media artist and composer. He studied music with Pauline Oliveros, La Monte Young, and Alvin Lucier and has been based in Berlin, Germany since 1984. In 2007, Dreyblatt was elected to lifetime membership in the visual arts section at the German Academy of Art (Akademie der Künste, Berlin). He is currently Professor of Media Art at the Muthesius Academy of Art and Design in Kiel, Germany.
Dreyblatt’s musical and artistic practice has ranged from large multi-day performances to permanent installations, digital projections, dynamic textual objects, and multi-layered lenticular text panels. His visual artworks create complex textual and spatial visualizations about memory, reflecting upon such themes as recollection and the archive. A member of the second generation of New York minimal composers, Dreyblatt continues to develop his work in composition and music performance, having invented a new set of original instruments, performance techniques, and a system of tuning. He has formed and led numerous ensembles under the title “The Orchestra of Excited Strings” for over thirty years.
Needless to say I am thrilled to have one of my favorite composers scoring my short film.
The Latent Germ of Madness will be released publicly very, very soon.
An ash-collecting robot witnesses the collapse of the universe as he slowly drifts through outer space.
Coming Spring 2014.
Big news! Recently I acquired the rights to adapt Joel Priddy‘s wonderful comic The Long Slow Flight of the Ashbot into a short film. The comic is a short story about an ash collecting robot floating through space over the course of eons, slowly witnessing the collapse of the universe…
It will be part III (of three) of The Robot Scriptures. I’ll be creating the trilogy over the next year or so (in reverse chronological order) conceptualizing an origin story for Artificial Intelligence.
This particular story, though being quite simple, alludes to very complex ideas and theories – time, space, creation, seclusion. In the comic, Priddy has taken a simple 9 square panel format and ripped apart conventions and expectations through his use of composition and form, in many cases allowing the panels to be read both like a normal book (left to right, top to bottom), but also as a whole – really quite genius.
I’ll be making the film as a live action puppetry piece (yet maybe not what you’d think about as puppetry…). That being so, I am currently in the midst of building a robot… The Ashbot:
Keep an eye out for the film this Spring… and Parts I & II coming later this year…
Joel Priddy is a wonderfully talented illustrator and writer in his own right and I highly recommend checking him out.
Another one of Joel Priddy‘s graphic novels, Pulpatoon Pilgrimage is no doubt one of the best out there – an honest and sometimes brutal account of the adventures and history of three unlikely friends. The graphic novel won him an Ignatz Award in 2002 for Outstanding Debut and was also nominated for an Eisner for Best Graphic Novel. His illustration work has appeared in the New York Times, Playboy, and Cricket Magazines. Basically, his work is amazing. check him out: http://www.joelpriddy.com/ http://pulpatoon.tumblr.com/
The N.E.A. Arts Magazine featured Denizen (a performative work I co-created) in an article titled
Defining Creative Placemaking
By Jason Schupbach
Denizen is a performance, sound, and video projection based work that draws inspiration from local native mythology. It is a two-part piece that explores life and the therefore imminent approach of death; using the Coyote as a central character. The coyote is a native to the California area and has prospered through all the human developments. Even though its natural habitat is being reduced, its population has grown by assimilating to the human culture and living off human bi-products. In the time of the Ohlone people, native to the bay area, the coyote was a main figure of their mythology; portrayed as a character of wit and cunning and contributing to the creation of humankind. The coyote is an instigator, and an animal that has the ability to adapt, while remaining wild and uncontrolled.
Denizen was directed by Tina Matthews, eve Warnock and Colin McDonald and performed in the Zero 1 Biennial 2012 – San Jose, CA for hundreds of onlookers in Oct. 2012
More about DENIZEN: http://www.zero1.org/blog/denizen-emma-polster
Photography: Patrick Lyndon
“There would be no Greek tragedy if the Greek writers listened to their audience.”
- Roman Polanski
“You begin with an artifact left on earth four million years ago by extraterrestrial explorers who observed the behavior of the man-apes of the time and decided to influence their evolutionary progression. Then you have a second artifact buried deep on the lunar surface and programmed to signal word of man’s first baby steps into the universe — a kind of cosmic burglar alarm. And finally there’s a third artifact placed in orbit around Jupiter and waiting for the time when man has reached the outer rim of his own solar system.
When the surviving astronaut, Bowman, ultimately reaches Jupiter, this artifact sweeps him into a force field or star gate that hurls him on a journey through inner and outer space and finally transports him to another part of the galaxy, where he’s placed in a human zoo approximating a hospital terrestrial environment drawn out of his own dreams and imagination. In a timeless state, his life passes from middle age to senescence to death. He is reborn, an enhanced being, a star child, an angel, a superman, if you like, and returns to earth prepared for the next leap forward of man’s evolutionary destiny.
That is what happens on the film’s simplest level. Since an encounter with an advanced interstellar intelligence would be incomprehensible within our present earthbound frames of reference, reactions to it will have elements of philosophy and metaphysics that have nothing to do with the bare plot outline itself.”
- Stanley Kubrick
“The tremendous world I have in my head. But how to free myself and free them without ripping apart. And a thousand times rather tear in me they hold back or buried. For this I’m here, that’s quite clear to me.”
“The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or, perchance, a palace or temple on the earth, and, at length, the middle-aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.”
“My life has been the poem I would have writ, but I could not both live and utter it.”
- H. D. Thoreau
“In every parting there is a latent germ of madness.” – Goethe, 1788
Back in February, a feat of film production was accomplished. The shooting of both a music video and a 10 minute short film over the course of one weekend. Pshew!
The short film is titled The Latent Germ of Madness -
It is a story, drawn from the Goethe quote above, about the value of struggle.
In the recent past, I’ve read a hell of a lot of theoretical essays on “The Epic of Gilgamesh” (ancient mesopotamia, circa 2700BCE, the oldest written story known to man) - – the feature length screenplay that I recently wrote is loosely based on this story. These essays and texts are on a range of topics – anthropological, mythology, sociological, scientific, poetry, etc. One of these essays I came across was called “Reaching for Abroad: Departures” by Eric Leed and it really struck a cord with me with all of my recent global traveling.
In the Epic of Gilgamesh – the hero Gilgamesh goes on a very long journey to find immortality, but in the end cannot find it, or looses it really, but is left with a more broad appreciation for life because of this journey.
This short film was meant to explore this exploration – and what/why it brings value to our lives. How fear is perhaps the reason traveling is so worthwhile – taking one far from comfort to make them realize the value of life – the power of life is much stronger when one knows what the face of death looks like. And so I took an almost literal approach…
Acting in the film is a woman by the name of Anna Hebblewhite. She is a wonderfully talented musician and actress who I got to know while in Tasmania and can now confidently call a friend.
Over the same weekend we shot the Latent Germ short, we also shot a music video for Anna – a song of hers titled “Awakening”. We approached the shoot with a similarly circular structure to the short film, but went about it in a loosely composed way, shooting in and around the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park. Annnnnd we all got to go swimming – which was understandably the best.
More of her music can be found here:
Andrew Maynard, her partner in crime, and also my good friend, was instrumental in helping out on the shoot, acting as a production assistant and overall good spirit during the long, hot days in the mountains. Like a warm weather sherpa. Many thanks go out to him. ps – almost all the photographs in this post were taken by him.
The films, both shot in Tasmania, Australia, are currently in post-production and should be done in the near future! Keep an eye out for more pics and words and etc etc in the near future…