TORO, My Minotaur / The Good Father

The Pull-Start

The TORO came back from a tune-up.  I tempted my son into shoveling the deck and the front walk with the promise of getting to witness me lighting up my dad's old snowblower for the first time since its repair.  I'm new to choke/ignition sequences, priming, and two-stroke fuel mixes.  I get it, but I also don't get it.  I thought that the electric start was going save me from the yank start.  "It doesn't sound right," he said. "Yesss."  I pulled the cord and began to whip the machine about by its pull start.  Exhausted left arm, I went to right. Nothing. 

I used to watch my father test his rotator cuff on a Mercury outboard to get my sister and I out on the summer lake for lazy afternoons of fishing blue gill and perch by the dozens.  My memory of him with this hand-me-down blower was the same, starting it was a cinch.  My show-off attempt at dad raveled watching my son shuffle back to the house.  His age, I also missed  the sputtering, failed starts, inside, warm and dry, likely late enough to be in bed.  I didn't get to see the minotaur, only the man and the snowblower.

SHORT AND SWEET - You Want Story Help? Ask a Toddler.

A while ago, my son asked me to tell him a story.  So I told him a story I called "Two Old Cowboys," a version of Chasing Daylight for a two year old but not so much that it lost the grit.  

"Whaddya think?"  

He said, "I like it."

"Can you tell me the story?"  

He said, "One cowboy pushed another cowboy and he didn't like it."  

My version for him lasted minutes; he trimmed the whole thing back to its setup in one sentence.  It wasn't so much that he said something profound but that he pared all the flourish down to the two main characters and it made me think.  A chance to go back and edit with this in mind, an urge to let more of the script fall away in order to simplify down to the characters and what's at stake.

Penny Pony



Chasing Daylight  is a script that I have been nicking away at for a while, weekends and early mornings and more intensively during my sabbatical summers.  Reflecting on my writing, I've come to see my thread of interest in the stories of age, the elderly. Stories where their joy, desire, pain and passion unfold truthfully, not neutered nor reduced to caricatures and comedy relief but the truth. 

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Today, Joe Stucky, Animator/Concept Design/Storyboard Artist, shared more of his concepts and first draft of boards which have brought to life the key moments of the opening two scenes of Chasing Daylight.  His work makes the world take shape without having to travel and has been helping me ask/answer story questions that have been hard to nail down.  Joe has a great economy of image that comes with years of experience envisioning how animation frames, characters, and movement come together.  If you scroll all the way to the bottom you'll be rewarded by a few of the character concept sketches of Cooper and Lucia, two of my main characters.


Here are a couple of concepts for Cooper and Lucia.

Character of Cooper Concepts - by Joe Stucky

Lucia Character Sketch - by Joe Stucky

From the Cloud Rains Sound and Color

New Mix and Fiddling with Black Magic RAW:

These past few weeks my sound designer, F. Hudson Miller, sent the STEMS of the tracks he built out of his studio in Los Angeles: Composite DME Printmaster, Stereo Dial Stem, Stereo BG, Stereo FX, Stereo Foley, and Stereo Music.  I'm learning a great deal where my previous work in sound was independent or dealt more with working with an engineer to enhance tracks of live sound that couldn't be changed.

The RAW footage is uploaded and getting it's final passes in color in New York.  At the risk of being redundant, I'm posting the photo that I posted in the trailer page.  I won't bore you with all the passes of color correction - but the process has been eye opening - the detail you can get out of Black Magic RAW!

Color Correction - Pass 3

Color Correction - Pass 3

Color Correction - Pass 4

Chicago - Old and Cold Haunts

Staying downtown, visiting Chicago Academy for the Arts and moving ever forward on the trailer.  Next mix is up and ready but won't be able to be locked in until I get back.  I didn't have the heart to bring my media with me with the unexpected hand-checks on small planes, etc.  So my media patiently waits for me on my desk.  

A coffee at the Bourgeois Pig and on to my next meeting.  


The Screenplay

The script is in its third stage of revisions and scene three still needs WORK with the target of the end of March to be in script lock to allow me to really begin to dig in to directing homework, beat analysis, shot design, casting and location scouting with the target of principle photography this June. 

The Teaser Trailer and Fundraising

The trailer is in the homestretch with a pretty final mix in the works after my sound designer finishes the feature he's working on and puts the tracks back on their feet again.  With some help with color and tweaking the saturation and contrast in the color space of the BlackMagic camera it'll be ready to roll soon, officially beginning the fundraising portion of this whole adventure.  I plan to have a semi-public screening for cast, crew and student.  I am extremely grateful to my teaser crew.