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ROTTEN TO THE CORE
I decided to upgrade my Final Cut Studio 2 to Studio 3 in the hope that all those niggling performance issues that plague the software will go away. One hopes that it will be less prone to sudden catastrophic shut downs, and that famous round tripping between Soundtrack, Color, Motion and FCP will finally be a smooth process instead of a dangerous maneuver that may or may not crash everything. One also hopes that the peculiarly sluggish file opening that plagues my Mac Pro and seemingly nobody else’s will miraculously disappear - yes, I’ve had the engineers in. They told me that although it is odd, it is acceptable as far as Apple is concerned because it is a software issue.
So my hopes were high. The first copy of the upgrade came and refused to upload and so I got on the phone and after two hours, yes, two hours, finally got hold of someone who could order a replacement. They had to collect the faulty one and then re-issue a replacement.
Two weeks later a replacement arrived. I loaded in the first disk but none of the others would work. This means the applications upgraded but none of the “content” did. And so after another series of phone calls Apple promised me replacements for the replacements.
In the meantime I set to checking out what the latest upgrade does. At first, the peculiarly sluggish opening of files on my computer seemed cured! Everything went zip and zap as a Mac Pro should go. And then a security update turned up and put my computer back into its sleepy mode again. I love these updates, don’t you?
Then I opened up the project I was working on and found it would not render out into Apple Pro Res. However it rendered out into XD Cam, which in theory it was already, and then I could render it into Apple Pro Res. Something about Motion content seemed to cause the problem, though what I am not sure.
Motion behaved as sluggish and unusable as ever. I know it works on your iMac, but for some reason not on my Mac Pro. So no change there. And Soundtrack Pro, with a very promising Noise Cleaning function, immediately crashed just like it always used to. Color on the other hand, worked a treat and round tripped nicely.
Two weeks later, the replacement replacement disks arrived. I noticed that two of them were labeled Audio Content 1. That didn’t look too promising. I put Audio Content 1 in the machine and it loaded in Motion Content 1. Motion Content 2 however was an empty disk and so were all the rest of the pack. So I got some free recordable DVDs but no Content updates.
Considering that one is paying real money for this and not downloading a twenty-dollar gizmo from a Russian web site, one would expect someone to have actually checked the disks before bothering to send them. Once again I had a long conversation with several nice people who listened to my explanation of what had happened. And they said they would send me replacements for the replacement replacement disks. I await the outcome with a sort of morbid fascination.
I know this is not personal. Nobody is picking on me. And therefore I know that most of the upgrades they are shipping must have the same problem! So here is my handy tip: do not phone up Apple’s helpline on your mobile unless your battery is charged right up. You’ll be on hold for a long long time.
We were all wondering what happened to Jennifer Thym’s Lumina and wondering if the hype in July was a tad too early and that something horrible had happened to Jenifer’s hard drive. However, here it is, starting on September 8th. http://www.luminaseries.com/
For those of you who do not know what the fuss is all about. Lumina is a high production value web series designed to launch Jennifer Thym’s directorial career. Normally the director’s career starts with some shorts, which they use as show reels to get attached to a respectable script. But nowadays quite a few people are using the web series as a launch pad.
What people are looking closely at is how this sort of product can recoup its costs. Some people have gone for DVD sales and some have hoped for advertising revenue. I have heard of some reasonable DVD sales for certain products and I have heard that some of the popular Webisode concepts, in particularly those from Performer/Writers, have helped them gain TV contracts in the US. But mostly I have heard doom and gloom and very low hit rates.
Fingers crossed because if this works, this is an arena in which Hong Kong’s independents can participate on equal terms with anyone else and it is much less hassle that trying to get accepted in various film festivals for exposure.
If you wish to know more about the Lumina project, then head off to the Launch Party and press conference:
I’m still looking for that script about the Hong Kong Writers’ Circle! It should be somewhere between 3 to 10 minutes long – though mostly 3 - so that it can fit on Youtube, be capable of being shot with next to no budget, and be entertaining and informative.
You can write it as a documentary, or a sit-com, or an opera or whatever you like! It must be shootable though and it must make me laugh! And I mean laugh in a good way. And it should make you want to be part of the Writers’ Circle and consume all the creative output of the membership… or at least some of if!
ALL ENTRANTS will get Three Months free membership of the Writers Circle and the winner will get a full twelve months free membership and the pleasure of having their script produced and shot in Hong Kong.
The deadline is the end of October.
Hint: with a short film, the concept is everything! A good, clever idea taking advantage of the nature of the medium has more impact than something that is no more than talking heads, no matter how witty their dialogue.
I am the judge, jury and executioner of this, so you have to suck up to me and pander to my taste for beautiful actresses and heavy doses of irony. And please, write it as a script and not a piece of masterly prose.
Even better if you can also Story Board the idea!
Want a sample of good piece of You Tube promo? Head off to:
If you want a cheap piece of software that will help you write screenplays, Scrivener is quite useful. It’s only available for those with a Mac unfortunately. It does cost some money, about $35 but it has a number of very nice outlining functions. The screenplay formatter is a bit basic and is nowhere near as user friendly as Movie Magic’s Screenwriter, but its outlining functions are very cool and force you to think in terms of well structured units.
This may or may not be a good thing. Some times you just have to write the whole thing as it comes, but mostly anything that makes you build a screenplay systematically is a good thing.
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