This is Zach's personal blog. If you're looking for his movies, please click here. Otherwise, have fun!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hypothetically speaking...

So, if an opportunity for a record contract came your way, but it meant embarking on a life of touring, would you take it?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ha, ha!

I just got RoboPolled! What a hoot! See if you can guess if you're supposed to answer "yes" or "no" to the final question:
Do you support medical research on unborn babies?
Whose platform is that in? They may as well have said "Do you support killing puppies for science?" I said "yes," just to foul up their results.

(I wanted to link to the web site the robo-pollers promoted, but I can't remember it now. There's got to be a lesson there somewhere.)

Edit: For the record, I do support embryonic stem-cell research; but that's not what they asked.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Hot, steamy electioneering.

Medley says pretty much what I've been thinking about the Virginia Senate race, but better than I could, and with the authority of being a Virginia voter. However, the added wrinkle of criticizing passages from Webb's novels because of their sex scenes is just ridiculous.

Here in Maryland's fifth district, I'll be casting a protest write-in vote against Steny Hoyer. He's the minority whip for the House, and has no chance of losing; but I'm somewhat disappointed in his pro-corporate stance on many of the issues; the bankruptcy bill for one. But I won't be voting for the Republican either, because I don't think the Republicans deserve any votes this year.

Ehrlich vs. O'Malley? I don't really know, but Ehrlich seems to be pivoting to the center strictly to win votes, and the evidence is pretty clear that he had career state workers fired for no reason other than party affiliation.

And Maryland Senate is a no-brainer; Ben Cardin over Michael Steele. I don't know much about Cardin (I supported Mfume in the primary), but a Democratic Senate would be a major bulwark and a major rejection of Bushism.

It's kinda nice to have two competitive state-wide races this year.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I love eBay!

$45 plus shipping.

And looky there...

...someone's already done it.


Godfrey sez:
Well, you could buy a Linksys NSLU2 (ca. $80) and a USB hard drive, and put Linux on that... There are a couple of flavors of Linux available for the Slug, including Debian. (I'd suggest cracking open the case and pulling off the resistor which cuts its clock speed in half.) It's not blindingly fast, it doesn't have huge amounts of memory, but it's got enough juice to run Apache and PHP.
To which I say: interesting!

After some research, I found the Linux of which he spoke. It does indeed look keen. But a web-server is out of the question, since Comcast blocks the HTTP ports, AFAIK. So whatever I created would be just for the local internets, and who wants to make a web page that only you & the wife & the kids can see? A cool sandbox, sure, but heck, I can run a local web-server directly in Mac OS X, since it has Apache built in (and just needs a couple switches thrown to enable PHP).

So, nice idea, nice toy, but I thought I couldn't justify it. Until...

Like a bolt from the blue, it hit me last night: I could run a Subversion server on it! Subversion (or SVN) is a version-control system (like CVS), used mostly in software development so multiple developers can work on the same project without stepping on each others' toes. However, it's also been adopted by Animation:Master for use when multiple animators/modelers/etc. are working on the same project. Because it saves revisions, it's the perfect backup system even if you're the only person working on a project. So I'd do my work, backup to SVN, and never worry about a corrupted file or dead HD again!

And of course, if I ever decide to do another big collaboration, I can open the appropriate ports on the ol' router, and bang, we gots us a world-wide server, with no need to leave any computers on 24/7! Yowza!

And that doesn't even include the simple fact that K & I need a way to backup all our 'puters, which is what the NSLU2 was actually, y'know, designed for.

Now if I had only had this revelation when there was actually money in our checking account.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Watch this space.

The Gonnas may be reuniting for a paid gig sometime soon. Details to follow as soon as I know them.

Watch this space.

The Gonnas may be reuniting for a paid gig sometime soon. Details to follow as soon as I know them.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Happy birthday, Universe!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Unleash the inner tinkerer!

Darn it. I'm so down on my computers right now, I almost want to wipe the hard drives clean and install Linux on 'em. Almost.

Failing that, I would love to buy a super-cheap x86 laptop so I could install Linux on it and tinker. There's just something about command-line tools that I love. I don't know why. Maybe it's because they're so fast.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to set one up as a cheap-ass server and learn PHP? Or poke around in free software until I could figure out how to make ffmpeg create the new-style H264 low-complexity codec that allows 640x480 video on iPods? Or, heck, write a novel on LyX for NaNoWriMo...

This is what a geek does. Earlier generations might have opened up a VW Beetle. My generation opens up operating systems.

Just how cheap could I get a laptop these days?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"Just a test."

Here it is, your moment of zen.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

So you can plan your day.

The schedule for NYC Shorts has been posted, and The Cell-Phone will show at 12 noon on Saturday November 11, as part of a "kids block." Sigh.

And although it's not online yet, I've found out that Annapolis will screen Soap Opera at 7:30 P.M. that same Saturday, as the curtain raiser for a feature called The Big Bad Swim. Coincidentally enough, I met the producer at CTFF--like me, she is a Westport, Connecticut native.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ah, to be triplets!

The weekend of November 10th is going to be busy. First, I heard from NYC Shorts that they'll be showing The Cell-Phone. Then, I heard from Annapolis, who will screen Soap Opera. Now, I've heard from the Lake Forest Film Festival, just outside of Chicago, who have programmed <ESC>!

So, to recap: three different films, three different festivals, one week-end. Yow. If I had a company, I could send representatives. But it's just me!

Well, no, that's not true, of course not. <ESC> was a solo piece. Cell-Phone was a collaboration (with Mike, Jeff, and others) towards the end. Soap Opera was a full collaboration with Jeff. So, let's see... Mike is two feet away from NYC Shorts. I'm right next to Annapolis. Maybe I could convince Jeff to drive from Indiana to Chicago? Except, wait, he didn't work on <ESC>, so why would he go? Maybe he could come to Annapolis and I could go to Chicago? No, that doesn't make sense! Besides, I want to go to NYC! Give me time, I'll figure it out...

Another monthly song.

Something a little different:

Too Much Acid in the Inertial Dampers, 2:00, 1.8 MB.

As always, it's for the KVR monthly song contest. Topic: no voices.

I expect you'll all hate it.

Friday, October 13, 2006


So, the inaugural Connecticut Film Festival. In brief, the screening was so-so but the Sunday brunch was great.

Screening: there were about four people there who had no connection with any of the shorts in the program. The rest of us were filmmakers and entourage. The projector was all messed up; it was way too bright, and the aspect ratio was incorrect, so all of the films were stretched widescreen when they were supposed to be 4:3. After a while, you got used to it and wondered why the real people in the theater were so thin.

There was an ad-hoc Q&A afterward, at which I stunned everyone with my huge production budget ($29.95 for a royalty-free recording of Also Sprach Zarathustra).

I was in a foul mood for various reasons on which I won't elaborate, so I called an old friend who lives in Queens and asked if I could crash on his couch overnight. Graciously, he agreed. I had a nice dinner and a nicer conversation with him and his wife. I even got to meet his daughter for the first time ever--what a cutie pie!

The next morning, I was inclined to just go home, but after all, I had come up there to network and make myself known, not just see my movie. So I trucked out for a 10:00 brunch in Westport, feeling sorry for myself, and once I was there I met up with a couple other filmmakers and had a decent hamburger. Then was the awards ceremony. The shorts award went to someone else. I wasn't surprised. Another filmmaker at my table won the feature film award, which was cool. Then they announced the Connecticut Filmmaker award, and it went to some movie called "The Cell-Phone," by Zach Br--wait, what?

Well, technically I guess I'm a Connecticut filmmaker, in that I grew up there. But I haven't lived there since 1990. Don't tell anyone. Certainly was a hell of a surprise, though!

So, once the engraving is done, I'll have a nice glass sculpture to place next to my IPIFF Eagle. Makes me wish I had a fireplace, so I could put them on my mantel.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


"Yes, Jack, why would we stay?"

"... Since that time, the American people have reelected George W. Bush..."

Saturday, October 07, 2006

On the road.

I'm sitting in a café in New Milford, Connecticut, waiting nervously for my screening to roll around. I arrived much earlier than I expected--2 P.M., two full hours early. The Bank Street Cinema is showing, in addition to the festival, such luminous films as Jackass Number Two.

Oddly enough, the people at the table immediately adjacent to me are talking about an annoying cell-phone driver. It's all I can do to not turn around and say, "Someone should make a movie about that."

One major disappointment so far. Many more to come, no doubt.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

And away we go.

Tomorrow I head off to Connecticut.

This is actually something of a big deal. I've never attended a non-local film festival. I had hopes of going to North Carolina and Cleveland last year, but the schedule never worked out. So here I am, driving past my home town to New Milford for a Saturday, 4:00 P.M. screening, with no idea what to expect.

D.C. Shorts has a filmmaker-friendly reputation--not that they pay for your travel or anything (no one does) but they treat you well once you get here. Plenty of networking opportunities, plenty of swag... it's fun and exhausting at the same time, and the quality of films is superb.

However, CTFF is brand-new and I have no idea what to expect. Will there be Q&As? Will I have free tickets? Will anyone from the festival even be at the screening? I do know that the screenings happen in multiple venues around Connecticut, so it doesn't seem as though there'll be a lot of unity or camaraderie. Maybe I'll be wrong, though.

I've already seen one of the films sharing the screening, Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot, which was a selection at Sundance, so I guess I'm in good company.

There's some sort of reception that evening in New Milford which I'll go to and be my usual wallflowery self, and then there's an awards brunch Sunday morning where I won't win anything. Then it's back into the rental car, and home.

All this is in aid of a new policy formulated by K and me: whenever I have a screening, if at all possible, I should go. After all, I want to make a career of this, if by "career" I mean "thing that earns me esteem but no money whatsoever." (There is NO money in short films.) I've told my kids that I'm going on a "business trip," because it sounds better than "a throwing-money-away" trip. And I keep on trying to tell myself that it's all worth it: the entry fees, the travel costs and time, the LightScribe DVDs, the thrill of acceptance and the agony of rejection. I know I should be happy, indeed reveling, in the simple fact that people actually enjoy my films. Still, it's hard to not wonder: is it worth it?


Somehow I doubt the Post will reprint this Oliphant cartoon in their weekly roundup.

Monday, October 02, 2006


The Cell-Phone will play as part of NYC Shorts.

Also, here's a little article in New England Film about the upcoming Connecticut screening.

Side note, commenters! I know too many Mikes. Please make your pseudonyms more specific. That is all.


I'm not sure yet, but The Cell-Phone may appear as part of NYC Shorts. I got two rejection letters for <ESC> and Soap Opera, and a letter that said "Congratulations again on being accepted to NYC Shorts!" but no actual acceptance letter which mentioned Cell-Phone. So does this mean it's been accepted, or that the second letter was accidental? Watch this space for details.