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Sunday, November 9, 2008

"Élan Vital" Workweek

New soundtrack music at, to be released between Monday the 10th to Friday the 17th:

Monday, 11/10: "Somnus/Mors"

Tuesday, 11/11: "Steve's Ideals"

Wednesday, 11/12: "Steve's Identity"

Thursday, 11/13: "The Stranger"

Friday, 11/14: "Élan Vital Trailer" (Audio Only)

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Élan Vital Soundtrack, Round Six

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Élan Vital Soundtrack, Round Five

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Élan Vital Soundtrack, Round Four

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Monday, October 6, 2008

Élan Vital Soundtrack, Round Three

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Monday, September 29, 2008

How I Did the "Code"

[Taken from]

I recorded the demo in F, but when I went to rerecord the song, I tried two new options: Lower the key to A like Elvis' "Blue Suede Shoes," or slightly lower to Eb like "Jailhouse Rock." The key of A didn't work. I liked how my horrible, horrible Elvis-Meatloaf impression sounded in Eb, so I was going to rerecord all the other instruments in Eb. Then I listened to the F demo again, and I really liked how the guitar sounded in F, so I just bumped up the Eb vocal to F, and that was that.

In other words, producing music is complicated and satisfying.

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More Élan Vital Music

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Élan Vital Soundtrack: New Music Every Monday

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Promoting "Élan Vital"

In Windows (I'm not sure about OS or Ubuntu), the letter É in Élan Vital is the keystroke Alt+0201. Anyway, Mutiny Universe's John Michael Tan had the freshest eyes (and ears) when it came to cutting the first trailer for the film:

Élan Vital Trailer

Music-wise, I just did a basic remix and mash-up job when it came to the various Élan Vital themes, depending on what John wanted. In any case, please go to for more information in the coming weeks!

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Picture Has a Voice!

After many months of hard work, Jedediah Jones and Ryan DeRamos are in the final stages of the sound design. I was extraordinarily pleased with the first draft and after making just a few key notes, the guys are polishing the music and sound for what seems to be only a two draft process!

Of course Ryan and Jed each had several drafts as Ryan honed the score and Jed, the sound design and dialog in what many would consider a tedious process in which one must balance one's own sensibilities with the pre-made world that we had created so many months before. As the director, I have been pleased to see Ryan's and Jed's sensibilities craft something unique that took many of my ideas and not only elaborated on them but often re-envisioned completely in order for them to become the perfect auditory compliments to the visual world that we had created.

With color correction finished and the sound scape nearly complete, we have only the credits left to do before we have ourselves a finished film. I look forward to unveiling it to everyone soon!

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Friday, May 2, 2008

A quick note

Just a quick blog note to say how impressed I am with this film. It's a pretty daunting feat to tackle a multi-faceted plot with lots of actors and sets, special effects and a lengthy running time and do it all for - a staggeringly low budget - and have it look great!

And it does!

Kudos to everybody on the team for making ELAN VITAL a success and to our new post-pro friends who are helping to get it polished and ready to take the world by storm!

Boogie Woogie!

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Technology Is Supposed to Be Inconvenient?

Yes, part of the time...and it is so worth it!

While home/office-based digital audio workstations and video editing bays will definitely speed-up, cost-down, and overall democratize the process of getting effectively professional results, it shouldn't stop you, me, or anyone else to take current technology to areas where more experienced producers, engineers, and technicians go. That scary place, where things usually fall flat and you have to start over several times. The place that the owner's manual PDF file doesn't cover. You know what I'm talking about - go there. Often.

Several years of trial and error (failures, mediocre results, and some cool stuff) sort of gave me the indication to experiment from time to time, but recently I signed up for one of those gimmicky free videos through Digidesign (the company that makes Pro Tools, which is a subsidiary of Avid, etc.). It was for a handful of free videos from, which featured tips from music producer Kenny Gioia (the guy who produced the '90s hit "Sex and Candy," and someone who apparently made the transition from analog console recording/mixing to Pro Tools and brought a lot of cool analog techniques with him).

Anyway, Gioia's Pro Tools videos gave me a lot of information that I might have found out much later (or not) - little tips to make various trivial tasks less tedious and grandiose stuff that's worth taking the time to try. For example, there's one video where he de-esses vocals the long way, without using a de-esser plug-in to automate the process. This isn't a sales job to buy/rent whatever is selling, as I just watched the free videos and don't intend to spend money on other videos (though I might sometime later...). However, viewing the videos caused my creative wheels (which are always turning) to spin even faster, so I am now in the current mindset to not only fail often, but also to take my "game" to a higher level.

I think Walt Disney once said, "If you can dream it, you can do it." William Arthur Ward said something similar: "If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it." So if your technology can't help you do what you've dreamt: A. You might need some help with your technology (and Google will be your friend), or B. You might need to change/modify/upgrade your technology (and Google will be your research buddy in this instance).

But for all this talk about technology, it really comes down to the user - you, me, and to whomever this rant may be relevant.

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Friday, February 8, 2008


We continue to quietly make progress on the film. We are now in the final stages of post-production as we go into sound, music, ADR, and color correction (post-post). I cannot be specific on when the film will be complete and ready for a premier but I can say that we are closer than we have ever been. I can also say that everyone who worked on this picture should be very proud. We will keep you posted. ...and don't worry - I have not forgotten about anyone - though some of you haven't seen me since production, I saw you many hundreds of times during the editing process and - man - do I appreciate the effort and artistry! :-)

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pro Tools M-Powered Trial and Error

I was testing out some relatively new equipment and programs so I could successfully implement these new aces-up-my-sleeves for the Elan Vital soundtrack. Anyhow, some of the equipment is (hopefully subtly) implemented in this new Mutiny Universe commercial:

In the process of creating the above video, I stumbled upon a new problem with Pro Tools M-Powered, as well as a possible workaround (through the process of trial and error). When using Pro Tools M-Powered with the Mobile Pre USB to score to a video file, make sure the video file is on the computer's hard drive and not on an external drive. If both the music files and the video are on the same external hard drive, the external M-Audio interface/sound card will make a hideous noise to prevent any and all productivity...or at least on my shoestring budget equipment. I'm guessing that my external hard disk drive isn't as fast as the computer's hard disk drive to access video.

To reiterate the above spiel: Save your music files on an external hard disk drive (as recommended by virtually everyone who uses Pro Tools), and have Pro Tool M-Powered access the video on the computer's main hard drive. The interface will be less noisy, less often, and you will be more productive. (I just did a quick search on Google, and apparently, intermittent noise is inherent to M-Audio's Mobile Pre USB...which means I really should save my rubles and pesos and Euros to get a better Pro Tools-ready interface.)

Also, on a related note: A few months ago, I discovered a catastrophic problem in Pro Tools M-Powered. Never, ever, ever add time to the beginning of the Pro Tools timeline, as it will give you an Access Error involving the Tempo Map.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

See (Hear) the Forest AND the Trees!

To save my computer (and myself) from needless strain, I recorded each soundtrack song separately. While still a long way from saying each song is "complete," I've taken early drafts / recordings / demos of each song and mixed them down as separate WAV files (actually a left-mono and a right-mono file for each song).

I put the songs in order at each precise point of the film (think BITC). And now the director and I can see the soundtrack as a whole. I personally can tell which parts need tightening and how to craft a unifying score, rather than a loose collection of songs that fit the movie...kinda, sorta.

Here is a cryptic track list for the soundtrack, with links to cool people:

1. First
2. Drone
3. Samba
4. Alessandra
5. Isabelle
6. Boogie
7. Katrina
8. moxy
9. Waltz
10. Jazz
11. Stranger
12. Robert
13. Christine
14. Last

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Check out our Élan Vital Production Stills!