Tag Archives: THE FUTURE

“Space Laser” best photos 9-N-4!

As we’re all aware, I was recently back in Sioux City Iowa at the Western Iowa Technical Community College to make a movie (Much like I did last year when we made “Write-In 2012“).  This time we shot a short sci-fi piece about Trash and Spiders and Laser beams.  It was a lot of fun, and it’ll take a while to get everything edited together.  In the meantime, though, here are some stills from set to quell the curiosity that would otherwise consume and kill you.

Featuring Jim Westcott as "Space Demon" Mangus DeTriade!

Chris Risdall, Camera Assistant

Fun Fact about shooting this film was that we shot in the server room at WITCC, which means that all of the wires that are going in and out of the shots are actually all of the internet for the entire school!  It was an exciting location that proved to be a bit tricky to block in (I had only seen photos of it before getting onto set, and the room was simultaneously bigger and smaller than I had thought) and we had to have a member of the IT department watching us the entire time to make sure we didn’t unplug anything.

Jason Lees in Cinema 19N4!

Front projection of a ship computer in 19N4!

I was also glad to finally work with the immortal Jim Westcott for this project.  If any of you have seen the work of Andrew Gingerich you’d most know Jim as Roger Deerborn in “Third Party ’08”, but he’s also been on the sets of “A Serious Man”. “Sweet Land”, and many independent features in the Minneapolis area.  Jim was a pleasure to work with, as were our other two actors Matthew Hubert and Aundrea Marcoe.

Matt Hubert and Aundrea Marcoe as Skarsgaard and Steelpepper, respectively

The Immortal Jim Westcott

The Babel Project

As the seven readers I had before the Henceblog reboot know, I worked as the art director on two student senior theses before I left Santa Fe.  The later of the two was called “The Babel PRoject”, a sci-fi film about a future where people can download information directly into their brains, thus causing the downfall of language and the commodification of information. Well, that’s the world the film’s set in, the actual film itself is about a mind-erasing conspiracy at a research company, but for me it was all about the creation of the info-filled dystopia.  So let’s dive head first into it.

The main art direction for this film was to create a number of large infographic posters that would be featured throughout hallways and on walls.  These posters were about everything from the functionality of walls to the history of Tungsten to the reason why information must be hoarded and gotten at the risk of human rights.

Small Security

Elevator Safety Information

And I also created an entirely separate typeface built around the idea that once information became something that you can simply have, then the very basic act of reading and interpreting letters becomes almost irrelevant, and that as such letters would be stripped down into their most basic forms in order to be more efficient and less extravagant (the entire design philosophy for this world was to create something that would be crowded with data and information but be presented in the most simple of ways).  Seen below is a brains can that was printed onto a transparency, with information written in English (Fun Fact, the dominant typeface int his dystopia is Lucida Grande, which is the placeholder typeface for the creation of titles in the Final Cut editing suite), Chinese, and in the Simplified typeface.

A Brain Scan of something

The Simplified type and many elements of the art direction for this film were a bit rushed, and I don’t think I ever really got into the swing of things and really got to create a fully realized world, part of it had to do with me and part of it had to do with lack of communication between the director and me.  But for the entirety of the production I was acting off of my first impulse, and one of the reasons I wasn’t able to act off of more than the first impulse was because of all of the information and the complicated nature of how the inforgraphics looked.  Let’s take a closer look at some of the smaller pieces:

THe Elevator may break.

Do Wash your hands
I’m not sure what’s happening with the background here, but it’s supposed to be the same binary behind everything.

Always look at Information

So with every single smaller part of each sign every element had to be measured (because measurements are information), the color information had to be placed (again, the more information the better), and I also had to think about how best to simplify forms (People are inverted exclamation points, because we’re already using exclamation points and because all you need to show a person is a body and head) as almost everything in these infographics (minus the hands) is a combination of letter shapes found in most fonts (parenthesis, astrix, O’s).  So in between doing this for every inforgraphic of every poster, I also had larger warning signs to make that are full of almost every language (again, if you have the knowledge of speaking a language, and if this knowledge is incredibly easy to obtain, then everyone will want to use it):

Uh Oh Chemicals!

And on top of all of this I also had to create an info-filled letterhead and the Logo to the evil Logos Labs.  Fun Fact about the Logos Logo: Most of the type is all based around the same square repeated over, the only difference being the “L”: I wanted the L to bring to mind both an eye (because this is an evil future lab that’s always watching you because of science fiction) and to look like a fermata (Thus, Logos becomes a company that is focused on holding, keeping and hoarding.  It’s a company that resists change and will do whatever it takes to make sure that Logos stays Logos).

Logos Labs: Information is the Future

The entry form for Subject 17, who has had all of her understanding of language removed

And so that’s it.  Again, not my best work, but for a rush job it turned out alright.  At least, I can safely say that I think this production had bigger problems than the art direction.

VATAS: Lastisode 16

Here we are at the end of the adventures, folks.  After the school closing I never quite got back into making VATAS episodes, although it wasn’t for lack of ideas.  I had plenty of ideas for VATAS episodes (and I’ll include them below), but I either got busy with classwork or it just didn’t seem the right moment to shoot the episode.  But, once I graduated I decided to pick up my Hi-8 camera, dust it off, bury it in sand, and shoot one last episode: The Lastisode:

Lastisode 16 on YouTube

It’s a bittersweet ending, and even now I feel sad to see VATAS go.  It’s a final episode that encompasses the uncertainty that I had about the future in 2011, and that I still have nearly two years after graduating.  I feel like the location of the arroyo does wonders for setting up a sort of lost and lonely feeling, but also one of discovery.  Now, again this is vastly different from other VATAS episodes, I suppose the final two years of film school finally taught me that I don’t need candy-color correction to make a video worthwhile.  Also, much like other later episodes, this one is very straightforward.  We no longer have the random jumps like we did in Episplode 3 or Westisode 9. However, it still feels like a VATAS episode. It feels like a much more grown up a mature episode, one that is the logical conclusion from the very first VATAS (okay, maybe not logical because who’d have thought I’d go through all the insanity with CSF and that I’d eventually return, but… it’s an ending that makes sense).  Finally, this is the most self-referential episode.  Which I feel okay about, but how about you? Are you tired of me plugging Delicious Pound Cake yet?

And now, to truly end our time with VATAS and as I promised above, here are the ideas of other episodes I had that never came to be:

Wherein Vvinni buries three turnips (it was going to be a bizarre quest episode where I buried three moldy turnips in the mountains)
Wherein Vvinni returns to Santa Fe (It was going to be my jailbreak episode from Boulder)
Wherein Vvinni travels back in time (This was going to be the sci-fi equivalent of Westisode 9)
Wherein Vvinni does laundry (This one is self-explanatory)
Wherein Vvinni gets lost in the desert (Again, self-explanatory)
Wherein Vvinni drives (An episode following me on one of my drives from Santa Fe to Colorado)
Wherein Vvinni designs (an episode following me as I design a poster/book cover/ etc.)
Wherein Vvinni goes back to Episode 1 (A re-edit of Episode 1, which was going to be created as the 20th episode anniversary)
Wherein Vvinni finally talks about Tracy McKnightly (An episode where I confront the biggest failure of my filmmaking career: Tracy McKnightly)

Well. That’s it. Thanks for joining me for this YouTube adventure, and I hope my seven readers have enjoyed this at least somewhat. Now go. You’re free now.

Without the T’s: Star Trek Into Darkness

“Without the T’s” is my film review for both current theatrical releases and any release on home video that I may see.  I treat these as a way to discuss and understand a film for it’s merits and demerits, but unfortunately since it’s a review I hindered by two main points: A grade and a gimmick.  Therefore, the more I enjoy a film the more of the letter “T” will be included in the write-up of the film, with “lesser” film reviews becoming more and more incomprehensible.

Star Trek Into Darkness is a lot of fun.  Does it further the pursui of cinema as an art form, and does it push narrative boundaries? Oh my, no.  This is a popcorn movie, and it has litle if any cultural message or truths about humanity. However, it serves to further what Abrams’ first film in the reboo franchise set out: Spaceships, explosions, and two Spocks.  The questions of humanity and society hat have been present in most iterations of Star Trek have been removed, but in it’s place is a sense of advenure and exploration, which I feel still serves the Star Trek universe well.

Star Trek Ino Darkness follows James Tiberius Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise as they hunt down a fugitive into Klingon Space and back to Earth (SPOILER ALER: The fugitive is KHAAAAAAAN).  Along the way we find out about tha the head of Star Flee was behind the resuscitaion of this fugitive from cryostasis (again, SPOILER ALERT, this is KHAAAAAAAAAN) and now he’s trying to right his wrong by blowing up him and his entire genetically modified clone clan and stranding the Enerprise in Klingon space, placing the blame on Kirk and sarting a full on galactic war (SPOILER ALERT: Galactic wars never end well. Also Benedict Cumberbatch is KHAAAAAAAN). Also along the way Scotty gets fired and has a trip to Jupiter, we have the closest thing the film comes to a philosophical or cultural message abou the military industrial complex, and then a whole bunch of things explode and people get sucked into space and lens flares are so present hat I wouldn’t be surprised if the next movie revolves around lens flares asking for a seat in the galactic council (they’re home planet, Baybrahms 9, then gets atacked by the mysterious Chiaroscuro. It turns out to be V-Ger). Also, along the way both Kirk and Spock get to yell “KHAAAAAAAAAN”, alhough Spock gets the beter moment.

There aren’t many surprises, it’s general Blockbuster fare, and it doesn’t quite have the same core of Sci-Fi as the series and to a lesser exten the first Abrams film did.  But it still has a few merits: Firstly, this is a very prety movie (although you may have to take out a lens flare or five).  The art direction, the design of the future, even the softer lighting inside of the starships make for a light, enjoyable piece.

However, the true redeeming factor of Sar Trek Into Darkness is the acting.  In Abrams’ first film he gave us a wonderfully dynamic Enterprise crew, one much more fleshed out than they were throughou much of the original series.  Although many of the crew members don’t get nearly the spotlight they had in the first film, and Bones mostly exists as a vessel for one-liners, the core group of the Enterprise is still enjoyable to watch.  Anton Yelchin’s Chekov, in particular, gives every line he has such enthusiasm and gusto hat even when he’s info-dumping about how spaceships fly he fills you with glee.  Yelchin also gets the fine distinction of helping flesh out Chekov’s characer a bit more form the original series.  Finally, the tour-de-force of Star Trek Into Darkness, is Benedict Cumberbatch as the arch-villain KHAAAAAAAAN.  Cumberbatch gives the warlord an animalisic harshness hat wasn’t present in Ricardo Montalbon’s previous incarnation but help cement KHAAAAAN as a cunning and worthy adversary to the indestrucible Jim Kirk. It isn’t any surprise hat Cumberbatch is the highlight of the film, but it’s wonderful to see him geting work and playing a different type of anti-social behavior than Sherlock Holmes.

So, although it’s certainly not groundbreaking, Star Trek Into Darkness serves its purpose as a blockbuser and has a handful of performances hat tip it just over the average mark. Thus, for the arbitrary grade, we’ll give it:A "B" Grade


My Name is Ward Armstrong and I Travel Through Time

This began as a writing warm-up for the Ministry of Playwriting, and it grew into the most viewed film of mine and perhaps the film I’m most known for.  So, now here it is, re-uploaded on the New Henceblog: My Name is Ward Armstrong and I Travel Through Time:

My Name is Ward Armstrong and I Travel Through Time from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

To clarify: I don’t think this is the best film I’ve ever made (that honor belongs to Lamplight Breakfast on a Burning Kitten), but this is consistently an audience favorite. It’s easy to see why, as it’s a good joke vehicle (wonderful lines/readings that stick out: “I will send you to the dinosaur times”, “Well, you can’t stop the Squid Monster”, and “They have these saws for arms. It’s TERRIBLE”) and the main performance of Leroy Twarogowski is delightfully befuddled.  On another viewing, I feel that the pacing is a bit off, and that I could have done a much better job editing this together (the Mexican standoff scene doesn’t quite pop as much as it should) and I really wish I was able to include the take where Leroy pronounced it “Moo-Tants”, but if memory serves me correctly it just wouldn’t fit in.

Tales from SPAM!

Like all webpages, I get plenty of Spam.  I believe I’ve already filtered out around 800 spam comments (despite only being up and running for a few months), and nearly 99% of all comments on The Great and Powerful Henceblog are Spam comments.  As such, every morning I go through my trash folder to make sure every comment is Spam and not an offer to give me 80,000 diamonds.  Here are some of my favorite Spams I’ve come across, some are direct quotes, some summaries, some reactions. Enjoy?

-Many people have offered their sincerest thanks as to my inclusion of my important thoughts and feelings on the now-defunct Terms of Use page.

-One Spam thought that I could really spice up my page layout by adding in some stock pictures from a funeral home.

-One simply told of a person who was trained in martial arts by David Carradine while simultaneously studying with the Marx Brothers and loving country music.

– “Sex Fuck Francais Cul”

-The middle-aged aunt said: “I this is not a clue? Is it right? Will give me to write a letter of praise what? ”

-Here’s a nice, long conspiracy spam poem:

“And this spake he because nervous stammer especially powerful, a few words say so loud, I heard worse, busy covering his mouth. Let him not excited, at the same time ears side reaction, but already late, there suddenly fell silent, apparently has been found near the same.
King Boss see my face uncertain, said to me: ‘You do these things, sooner or later, you and I said, I have some not know what in the bamboo slips, you know what? Summer to business history how long we all understand, why so long, do you know why? Because of the lack of historical records! My several bamboo slips, the Western Han Dynasty, as ancient scientists wrote, he said that summer to providers, there may well be a dynasty, but do not know why, no records, you see such an important thing in history, can be completely disappear, a strange nation disappeared again what’s strange?’ Then he patted me, so I don’t want to have a look, then, the amber resin cocoon is… what?
We carried the sun and go for about an hour, the day is getting dark, suddenly found in front of a rhizotomist wooden shack. The old itch pushed open the door and went inside, turned to me and said: ‘Look, here’s hearth, this evening we can eat hot’.
He said was true; I was listening to a heartbeat but, on second thought, he is armed with weapons.  What also to find me? It is not paved stalls let people to make money? There must be a conspiracy: they wander about heart is too deep, you look cool touts followed us here is a flatter face, find opportunity soon brought him turn from a guest into a host, we are not against, compared to them, we are really too tender, they find me, there must be something on purpose.
I think for a minute, don’t know why I feel not good. King Boss seemed to have a well-thought-out plan, the person familiar with all kinds of strange things, and he already knows what’s under, and are going to get. Think about the old itch said things to me, not by also can not be reconciled thus fell into his hands, one hand on the busy short handle knife, followed him slide down.
I lost the support, all the weight back to my hand suddenly did not catch on, straight fall more than one meter, hold a prominent bronze busy branches to stop body, looked up, he saw the monster ‘s face was completely broken apart into a small piece of a small piece of white debris, like Naipi same began to fall off.
I suddenly wake up, terrified look on his face, and said: ‘You mean, on top of the coffin chamber, once had a corpse? So long the coffin of banyan tree root, it cannot wanton growth?’
According to the principle, to see the statue’s face is not difficult, but we are up to look, no matter where you go, because of the angle of the relation is still not clear, my heart troubles for the statue of the ominous feeling more and more strong.
This time, causing the trouble head Zhang Qiling was deeply furrowed brow, he looks better than anyone: had seen carefully the ancient stone stone carving”.

This story was apparently meant to sell shoes.

-One spammer thought it apt to tell me about his great vest in the most perfect shade of bubblegum. It’s an “airy cropped pullover” that makes a laid-back look.

-I was finally noticed by the spam site “Bed Bug Symptoms”, which thanked me for writing about such valuable information.

-Jones Sabo the Police Policeman with Regard to the Hit told me that it’s time to make some plans for the future and be happy.

-A Christian shoes salesman was given a free lunch just for reading my blog.

-I’m pretty sure someone told me how to smuggle goods into Tokyo.  Apparently, it all depends on the shape of the seals you use in your forms.  The Tokyo government only looks at documents with a square shape (at least I think, this was all written in Japanese, so I’m depending on Google Translate to figure this out).

-This isn’t quite a haiku, but I feel like it’s the closest thing a Spammer comes to making poetry:

At best you are able to Twitter away
Being a songbird.  To plan an itinerary for this may
Well lead to late actions. Of these, the red ones are used in night hours as is also not afflicted with other rays
Of light within the surrounding areas.

– My location is valuable to someone? My location? WHO ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU SELLING BAGS?

– “Thank you so much for all of your kindness and great support! Please bear with me patiently as I’m trying my very best in getting caught up in featuring Each one of You INDIVIDUALLY along with your fabulous lenses. I also wish to include each one of you in my quizzes just like what I’ve done with other other Squid Angels above. Pardon me for being so behind in doing so. With all my heart, thank you very much for taking my quizzes! On behalf of all the JENNIFERS in Hollywood and all over the world, Thanks for staying fabulous just the way you are! God bless you all!!!”

– People have searched a long time to get the information in my Main Page, so mainly that this is The Great and Powerful Henceblog.

– One Spammer was very honest to point out that I’m really whiny and I could easily fix all of my problems if I weren’t so busy looking for attention. It really is good advice.

– This is a comment from “Hair Chalk”: “Great paintings! That is the type of information that should be shared around the net. Disgrace on Google for now not positioning this submit upper! Come on over and discuss with my website . Thank you =)”.  You’re very Welcome, Hair, and it is a disgrace. I’ll certainly come over to discuss it at your website: Which looks to be literally about Hair chalk. That’s… you’re a strange one, Hair, a very strange one.  Although, you also apparently had troubles viewing pictures.  Hair Chalk: Are you a regular reader?

-Christian clothing is becoming more popular for “… boys that often have a touch of the demon in them”.  That… that is some news.