Month: December 2012

12 Awesome Things that Happened in 2012


Final day of the year, and looking back upon it all, it was a pretty kickbutt year for more than eleven reasons.

1. This year was a year of unexplainable beauty. Still wading in the creative aftermath of Hannah Steblay-Olson’s The Snow Queen and the HBO adaptation of Mildred Pierce. There were awesome discoveries, such as Moonrise KingdomBeasts of the Southern WildThe Red Shoes, indie music as a whole (Of Monsters And MenDark Dark DarkPhantogram, . Frequently I would walk around smiling because of streak of beautifully magnificent discoveries.

2. Trepidation was released this fall, albeit not as I wanted it. It ended up being pushed until weeks before the deadline at which point I filmed like there was no tomorrow. As a result, there were minor imperfections which stand out to me and nobody else. Minute occurrences such as holes in sets, mediocre sound design, awkward hand gestures, and overuse of camera panning. In the end, though, the film received honorable mention at the 2012 Machinima Expo and was screened alongside Chat Noir Studios’ film, which was what I secretly wanted from the very beginning.

3. 2012 brought forth more workable creativity than the past 16 years combined. Unfinished drafts of Sepulveda Boulevard, a television pilot for neo-noir series After the Fall, stage adaptations of Criterion title after Criterion title –The Red ShoesLes DiaboliquesLast Year at Marienbad, as well as a farce, The Ice Storm. Ideas and one finished script for a machinima documentary program that never materialized into anything.  Two short stories–one of which was published in an art-lit review, the other of which was developed in a creative writing program over the summer. In the final days of the year, I finished the first draft of Nightfall Dawning, and boy is it exciting and full of potholes. (Not literal potholes, but you get the idea.)

4. Pizzicato strings. You better believe I’m using them.

5. Had this crazy idea involving time traveling through dreams and an equally crazy idea to make it into a film that doubles the length of Trepidation. Following my intuition and decidedly am doing this for the sake of making a film and not changing it to be more eligible for a jury nomination. In the following year, I’m pushing to be less lenient and to get Nightfall Dawning finished on time. It probably won’t be in time for the Machinima Expo, but I’m adhering to a calendar this time. Woah, revolutionary.


6. This past fall, I was in a production of Julius Caesar, set in the 1950s. (This was definitely a factor in my recent fascination with the 1950s.) It tested my patience and drained my creativity. But in turn, I became mesmerized with blue lights. And the music that played as I died was Artie Shaw’s Nightmare and I have since become enamored by it again.

7. I have gradually been developing a stronger and stronger love for live action film. In the final weeks of the year, I have developed a four-phase plan to resign from machinima and transition into brick-and-mortar film.

8. Gratitude. Supporters, audiences, family, dreamers, doers, samurais, innovators, adventurers, storytellers, magicians, pioneers, and patrons of the arts. To the phenomenal cast and crew of Trepidation and the future team forNightfall Dawning, and to the international assistance given by machinima filmmakers to rising talents. This is the year that Studio Mystique launched, and it’s all due to the efforts, patience, and understanding of individual members. Plus, a little time and fate, too.

9. I have fallen into a deep trance of typography. A total nerd point of discussion, I know, but Neutraface makes me happy.

10. As I continue to write, I deepen my own core principles. Change, interconnectedness, and intricate mysteries keep unearthing themselves, and I take that to mean something. Perseverance is what defines us as writers and directors and as creative thinkers and as innovative warriors. To quote Hushpuppy from Beasts of the Southern Wild, “Sometimes, you can break something so bad it can’t get put back together.” This year was a lot of breaking. Pieces of scripts have fallen apart, especially in Nightfall Dawning. But from that breakage, we can take the fractured pieces and reform them into something new, we can birth new beginnings. In 2013, I plan to glue together shards of glass.

11. Monologues. I’m not sure why, but this was a big year for monologues. Practically everything I wrote had them. Come to think of it, maybe I’m too reliant on them.

12. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know and/or work with some of the most awesome and talented creative people since ever. Among them are MJ Slide, Kate Lee, Hannah Steblay-Olson, Joseph Kwong, Cat Potts, Ricky Grove, Kristin Price-Wilson, Kay Challis, and so many others. On New Year’s Eve Eve (or one in the morning on New Year’s Day) I put together a list of my ten most influential people, and suffice to say many independent artists made that list (everything else was all Alfred Hitchcock this and Max Ophuls that.)
Everybody who composes Studio Mystique (be it creative work or spiritual support), y’all are 99 different types of awesome. Let’s build worlds together.

2013, I’m totally unsure of what you have stored, but I’m following you with a blindfold and open arms. Godspeed, yo.


Monsters of Pretension and Payrolls: So-Called Challenges with Time Travel

Slowly, steadily, Nightfall Dawning is being made. With the help of God and a few strong policemen, a workable draft will be finished by New Year’s Eve, and a finished draft arriving the second week of January. Not looking for perfection, rather strong elements that form a cohesive story. I’ve come to accept that my narrative style involves grandiose ideas and themes (what has been described as a “cinematic” voice). My greatest fear is coming off as pretentious, which is why I haven’t been giving this script everything. I don’t want it to have an over-inflated ego, but I also don’t want it to be shallow either. A few revisions between now and mid-January and I’ll probably feel fine about the script. This, unlikeTrepidation, I want to enter in national and international film festivals beyond the Machinima Expo. The question that I’m facing with this project: do we primarily create for ourselves or what will earn consideration for jury nomination placement?

That said, this project holds a lot of exciting prospects. Learning how to use a new animation platform is not one of them. I love the look of DAZ, but the learning curve is something I’m avoiding like the plague. But the final product will be worth it, I’m sure. Plus, I get to delve into the style of the 1950s. I started writing the portion of the script that takes place in 1952 last night, and I don’t know why I didn’t start sooner. It’s extremely fun and interesting to write.
(Note to self: wean yourself off of poetic language. Cordially, Evan)
Also exciting is that I’m in the process of landing space and local actors. I’ve entered Phase II of my four-step machinima master plan, which includes the interweaving of professional voice actors and local theatre actors. By Phase IV, I’ll have transitioned to almost exclusively local actors so there won’t be a huge change when I transfer from machinima to live-action film. Right now, I’m in the midst of getting audition/rehearsal and recording space for this gaggle of local talent. According to the informal calendar I have, I could have the local recording finished by the end of February.
Expect an Indiegogo campaign launching in January. I need to get pricing sorted out with these local businesses.
I’ve been thinking about the soundtrack I would license if I had a million-dollar budget for the film:
  • Lakehouse, Of Monsters and Men
  • Outro, M83
  • Daydreaming, Dark Dark Dark
  • (a score composed by Hans Zimmer and Benh Zeitlin/Dan Romer)
(Side note: it could be entirely possible to license “Daydreaming” on a budget since Dark Dark Dark is on a local indie label. I just don’t know where I’d put it in the film. It will probably slide over to my ‘I Want To License This Music In My Shorts Program In 2014’ pile.)

Full of Beginnings

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