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ATPM 5.08
August 1999



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On a Clear Day, You Can See the Hollywood Sign

by Mike Shields,

Ok, So I’m A Rocket Scientist…

And Shania’s still not impressed. My faithful readers have probably noticed my lack of output lately, and frankly, I don’t blame them. Getting laid off, bein’ outta work for two months, and then finally finding work at JPL. For those who don’t know, the Jet Propulsion Lab is the arm of NASA, the Naturally Arrogant Space Authority, or whatever, that deals with the making and breaking of satellites and stuff.

I think I’ve settled down into the routine of doin’ what I was doin’ at Ray-O-HAC—read newsgroups and e-mail, and fixing an occasional Mac. I mean, they just work, right?

Now the bad news is I can’t see the Hollywood sign anymore—even on a clear day. Wrong side of the hill. But, if I change the name of my column one more time, our graphics designer will have a heart attack. So in the spirit of covering the Hollywood beat, and everything Mac in relation to it, the column title will remain.

No Business Like It

Long time readers will remember that last year, I covered the ShowBiz Expo. Well, since it is an annual event, I went again. In fact, that makes this my 2nd Annual ShowBiz Expo report.

So, what did I see?

Macwise, not a helluva lot. End of report.

Well, not really. Lots of companies using iMacs as point of sale devices, others for demos of the company software on the platform of choice. Found a piece of budgeting and scheduling software that I really liked, but it’s only available for the PC. When I asked when it would be available for Mac, the reply was, ”You need to run it on Virtual PC, we aren’t going to make a Mac version.” To which I replied, “But that means, I can’t ask for a review copy...” However, I will be reviewing in upcoming issues Final Draft 5.0, StoryBoard Artist 3.0, Dramatica Pro 4.0, and Movie Magic Screenwriter, the latest and greatest (don’t know the version). There’s a review of QT 4 in this issue. I would usually do these types o’ things, but no time on this one. However, I’m in the minority, as I like the user interface. Stay tuned.

Digital Video, The Pulse-Pounding Sequel

I wanted to review Maxie Collier’s The DV Filmmaker’s Handbook, but as two-thirds of the book has nothing to do with D, or V for that matter, I’ll simply discuss it here.

The information that is relevant was outdated when Maxie went to print. Maxie is an acquaintance from misc.writing.screenplays, a newsgroup that longtime readers will remember that I post to on more than an occasional basis. Ok everyday, or at least I did, ’til my news server decided I needed to authenticate to read and post. But I digress. Anyway, he published in October last year. Since then, we’ve seen the B & W G3's, and the coming out, if not the advent of, the Canon XL1 DV camera.

The end result? The entire book is useless, except for the appendix, which lists links to useful information, that’s kept relatively up-to-date. No mention of misc.writing.screenplays, though. Overall, it has a good beat; however, I couldn’t understand the words. I give it a 67, with a proviso that information like this will do much better on the Web, as it can be constantly updated.

Which brings us to his Web site, As opposed to Maxie’s book, the Web site is excellent. And, he does publish a quarterly newsletter, which I recommend you subscribe to. Grammatically of course, that should read, to which I recommend you subscribe. But hey, it’s my column. I’ll screw with the English Language any way I want. When you have a column, you can write it your way. Remember, the English invented the language, and we Americans did a number on it.

But I digress again. The site is divided into several sections. I suggest hitting the message boards first, or the current newsletter, which is actually three months old, so I hope we’ll see a new issue soon. Read and absorb. At the message boards, you’ll meet others like yourself, trying to make a DV film, which is actually a misnomer. I called SAG, and got the definitive answer on this. For those who tuned in late, generally, something you shoot on film is covered by SAG, and if you shoot on tape, AFTRA gets the call. These are the two unions the govern acts.

So, DV film is videotape—AFTRA, right? Well, not entirely true. It turns out, if you want to show your DV film on the big screen, SAG gets the call. As most of you know, I’ve worked the subject of my column around to me, and Diamond in the Rough. Check it out. I’ll wait. When you come back, I’ll let you know that I’m shooting within a year, probably in Toronto, on a Canon XL1, and the post will be performed entirely on a G4, which will be available by the time I need it. Quite possibly supplied by the fine folks at Intelligent Media. And I get to plug some of my favorite Web sites, so life is good.

In the coming months, I’ll be digging deeper into the Web, searching out the pearls of wisdom that are DV Film and Mac related. Next month, I’ll talk about

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

e or DV you next month.

apple Disclaimer: Mike is about to shoot a movie, so, if you wanna jump on the bandwagon and show your financial support <g>, he can be reached at

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