Bad Film series

consumer level video YouTube web series, varying lengths, 2015

All posted to this YouTube Channel

On the afternoon of August 12, I took my son William with me to have coffee with paul Stockton, an old friend who was visiting from Toronto. As I'd not seen him in a few years, I thought it might be amusing to meet him at an old hang out, the Robin's Donuts on south Albert Street in Regina. William was in fine form, asking frequent random questions and making regular observations and suggestions. His non-sequitors were rapid and amusing. At one point William told me that I should make a video every day. When I reminded him that I had tried that (see my Sabbatical Videos from 2012) and that it was quite difficult and time consuming, he suggested that I simply make a "bad film" every day. With the bar lowered that far, I agreed so long as he helped. I shot one a moment later with my Canon "Powershot" consumer level digital still camera that I almost always carry with me. They are all being posted, as close as I can to the day they are created, on my YouTube channel. The following are not meant to be meaningful analytical notes as the films are often not particularly well thought out. This is simply a document of what I did and what I was thinking about.

1. Tusk Mountain. William had one straw in front of him and suggested that he be a walrus. He put it on his tooth (I'd expected him to put it in his nose, but this just proves how much smarter he is than I) and began conversing with paul. The sound was poor and I put a bunch of filters on to bring William's voice out, but decided to omit paul's lines. We watched most of Godard's films from the 1960s earlier this year and were very amused by his abrupt insertions of Beethoven in the middle of conversations, so that is what I was doing here. The clock didn't used to be there and its large scale and ornate design felt very out of place and dominated the small room so I decided to zoom in on it as William's monologue wound down.

2. The Semiotic Tree. This was shot in Weyburn Saskatchewan. Margaret had an artwork up as part of this fabric exhibition. This is not a shot of her work. I didn't actually make note of whose it was. It just happened that William was standing beside it when I prompted a question about whether it was a tree. In the way I asked it, I knew I was prompting him to discuss the semiotic nature of the signified tree rather than the actual tree. I taught him this when he was three years old and remind him now and then so he doesn't slip up. The image of a tree is not a tree. He caught himself and pointed out that my video of the cloth is not the cloth.

3. Trouble With Moths. This was actually shot later the same day as number 2 as we were driving home from Weyburn to Regina. We had to pull over to the side for road construction and as we did so, I noticed the thousands of white moths flying around. I began to shoot them through the passenger side window when suddenly an ambulance came up behind us and through the construction detour. We were playing Eddy Izzard on the car stereo and I was caught off guard and didn't turn it off in time to record the siren. As a result, I had no original audio for this piece. I cornered William the next day and asked him the trouble with moths as the title suggests both that the moths are the trouble and that there is trouble and there are moths, mutually exclusive, which is the case with the ambulance and moths coexisting in the same shot.

4. Zapper at the Snack Bar. We went to a drive in movie (Ant Man) at Woolsley Saskatchewan. We sat outside on lawn chairs as it was very hot that night.
A drawback of doing this was that the sound coming off the little speakers was not very loud and made me highly conscious of the other sounds in the area; a train, people starting their engines for the air conditioning, and the bug zapper which went off constantly on the wall of the concession stand 20 meters away. As I'd seen the movie previously, I took a moment to walk over to the concession, lean the camera against the wall, and shoot a bit of video. It didn't do the distraction justice. You can hear Ant Man playing off screen. It made me put together the concepts of insects, electricity, and food with the intention of returning to this later.

5. Bring Your Own Snack Bar. This was shot at the Motherwell Homestead, a historical site an hour away from Regina. The cow was chewing its cud and I felt it was an opportunity to put any sound I chose into its mouth. I wanted to reflect on the zapper from number 4 but couldn't get the sound to fit with any satisfaction. I mixed some "gadget" sound effect off of a sfx collection along with a bit of electronic noise and edited it to every chew. I extracted a video about milk on farms from a public domain industrial called "Uncle Jim's Dairy Farm" which I downloaded off of the internet archive ( I liked the line about pipes taking the milk from the cow, suggesting the animal to be another part of the machinery.

6. Stooking Power. This was also shot at Motherwell. The original shot of this event was done with William standing right beside the camera, commenting on it. However, he had just been listening to Eddy Izzard and his improv made far too many references to Izzard's riff on horse names, so I deleted it. The silent footage was then slowed down and changed to black and white for no really good reason. I felt I needed to change the image so that the context would change and perhaps trigger an idea to form about what it meant to me. It continued to mean nothing. I'm not particularly interested in traditional farming. I've stood in the harsh sun and relentless wind and the choking dust too many times for it be romantic. Most of my farm experiences are as an adult (example, shooting "Wheat Soup") so there is no nostalgia to the event either. I played it in this form for William and then had him improvise again. This time, I interrupted him multiple times and pushed the absurdity a bit further than he was initially intending. I prompted him to talk about eating and drinking milk and stooking (which is the process of propping sheaves of wheat upright to dry). I wanted it to reference the cow in the previous video. I'm wondering if I should have a long term plan or to just have each video reference the prior one.

7. Sharp He. Following on a line in the last film where William talks about someone drawing faces on bridge mix with a Sharpee marker, I had him draw on a transparency while shooting him from below. I told him to draw food, although I'm not really sure what he shot. The cat continuously interrupted so I emphasized this by repeating some of her meows to cover other sounds or voices.

8. The Marshmallow House and the Giant. This is a second installment of a series that I thought I would create starting with a super-8 film in 2012 called The Amazing Flying Marshmallow House. I used to make up these stories all of the time for William but unfortunately I didn't write them down. In actual fact, they were quite sloppy stories with no structure and were quite repetitive. He remembers them fondly enough so after trying to think of an idea for a couple of days, I asked William what it should be about. He gave me this summary which I recorded in my own words, with a few adjustments, later in the day. I wanted to shoot it with his help at a coffee shop but we got side tracked and never went out together. Instead, we ended up at home where he got distracted and I ended up drawing it and shooting it by myself. The shooting is sped up (double time I think) to make it more nervous but also to move the action ahead better.

9. Dream House. This is a grain bin that I purchased from my father in law a few years ago and that I've been practicing my clumsy carpentry on over the past while. I was cutting a hole in the side to put in the sixth window and got William to help me. I was too lazy to get the power run up to the structure and fetch power tools and thus the hand saw. The snoring is from a short from 2012 called Oblivion and I wanted to bring together the dual ideas of dreaming where one dream is a great desire for the future and the other is a delusion during sleep. The cottage is a general dream house concept, but this will never be up to that standard. The marshmallow house, superimposed in the last few seconds, is more delusional. I wanted to suggest the idea that the little shack is dreaming that it might become a flying house.

10. Home Fires Burning. As I was piecing this one together, William accused me of thinking too much. He says that his suggestion of making bad films was not to think or plan or obsess. It was a break through conversation between us that he understands my need to become obsessed. I want these short, quick, meaningless films to be parts of a larger, more meaningful project. I don't know what it will be, but it seems logical (to me) that each film should connect in some way to the one before and after it. When I I making this one, I'd fallen a day behind and had already edited the next film with the go cart. As such, I wanted to combine fire (i looked through old home videos to find one with a marshmallow being lit on fire in reference to the marshmallow house but couldn't find one in the time I allotted myself) with noise, which I associate with race cars. I ended up using fireworks from the farm which Margaret's brother George arranged. I used the birthday cake for William from the previous day (which contains him playing his own happy birthday song on the piano, off screen, at the start).

11. Revelry. As noted above, this was being made the same day as number 10. I think initially I was going to put fireworks in it, but having put them in the home fires film, I didn't include them here. As it stands, I can no longer justify the title except in that it contains a lot of noise and is playful. Margaret was discussing this go cart with or friend and neighbour Richard Gustin. It had been built some years before for his daughter and he now wanted it off his property and into a new home. Margaret thought that William and his friend would get a kick out of it and I took William over to see it, not intending to take it but rather just to get some photos and video of it. It ended up that Richard appeared to like the idea of us using it in a movie and William wanted it, so we took it home. It will certainly appear again.

12. Skipping Around. With a disgruntled attitude, William had to try on new shoes for school. He is up another size and always want the same style of shoe. We were at the store and I followed him around as he walked with these shoes on. The store was not arranged to move in a straight line so he and I had to wind around past displays and benches. The video was nothing particularly inspired but I put it into After Effects with a mirror of itself then rotated the set to reflect more upon the annoying decor of the store. As it spun, I thought about records as well as about being in a rut and decided to put the sound of a record skipping on it. This audio clip was on my compute and was from a few years ago on another project. I think about how we never really progress, by fate as well as my desire, things stay the same and change is all just an illusion.

13. Monkey See. This combines two apes from around our house. First, the statuette of the chimp and the human skull has sat on my mantel or around my houses or apartments since I purchased it at a Filmpool fundraiser auction in 1988. It had been donated by Don List, a long time Regina filmmaker and the item came with a letter which described the history of this chimp. Don had kept it in his bathroom for years and the letter listed all of the filmmakers who had used that bathroom during the time the chimp stood there. If I find this document, I'll post a link to it here [ ]. The monkey puppet is one of William's favorites and it is featured frequently in improvised puppet shows he performs (usually for the camera) with his friends. As the previous video was about walking, I asked William to use the puppet to talk about walking.

14. Curtain Call. This is another improv by William. We were on the farm and I'd forgotten to bring the toy skull as a subject matter so I just asked him to riff on the topic. I gave him the improv set up that he was just cast as the skull in the play instead of the brain and that he is upset about it. Of course, this refers to the skull being held by the chimp in the previous video. I kept trying to get him to exit screen left but he kept doubling back in.

15. Hammer Time. On the same day at the previous film, we were on the farm working on a grain bin that I've been turning into a cottage. William was learning to hammer nails. Unfortunately, the shingles were springy so if you only tap on them, the basically don't go in. You work and work and get no where. These sorts of endlessly repetitive processes always put me into a hallucinatory state. Building increasing amounts of echo, alongside the mirror effect shot like I used three days previous in #12, created this.

16. Winging It. The severely out of tune piano sounds are William improvising or "winging it" with the baby grand piano which was purchased for Margaret, William's mother, nearly 40 years ago. The instrument was moved to the farm, propped up on its side, and not used for the next three decades. We set it up some years ago but everything is so damaged that it is un-savable. It acts as a table to store magazines and junk on. As we came home from the farm (still working on the cottage) we saw huge flocks of gulls and I shot some with my camera out the window then slowed them down. I like the way that slow, meditative images mix with shrill audio such as broken piano to subvert our expectations.

17. Passing Notes. This is from the same session as the previous video. It is the first time William has ever seen this piano and we didn't have any sheet music with him. He claims he can only improvise with one hand at a time.

18. Burning Desires. I like roasting marshmallows but I insist that they be done right. In that I mean that the coals must be even and there should be no flames. The marshmallow must be cooked slowly so that it becomes molten right to the centre. It must never, under any circumstances, be set on fire. When I was making films 9 to 11, I could not find any video I'd shot of marshmallow roasting, which is what I'd wanted to include with those projects. When the kids began roasting marshmallows in our back yard pit, I started filming them, even though they were doing it all wrong. I resigned myself to the reality that I cannot exert my sensibilities on others; I must be more realistic. For the soundtrack, I asked William what his desires were, phrasing the question in such a way that he knew I was looking for something absurd. Such dreams go up in flames.

19. What's the Buzz? This began when I saw this glass wasp trap on the steps outside a coffee shop. It was overcapacity so the wasps were everywhere. The title came next and as William has been reading a Jared Diamond book, I thought he might have something to say about language. I like the chambers and tunnels that the trap had and it made me think about the mind with the wasps as thoughts, struggling in vain to get out.

20. Turnaround is Fair Play. I don't know if there is only one or if there are many of these around Regina, but I keep seeing this cement mixer which is painted to be a watermelon. Saskatchewan Roughrider football fans often wear watermelon helmets to games and this truck is equipped with a "Rider Pride" logo. William wanted me to use the truck only when you cannot see the Rider logo but they put one on each side so the range of footage is limited so I left it in. I rocked the footage back and forth so it shifts smoothly between forward and backward. The audio, part of their promotional material from a bunch of years ago, is from the Rider website. I wanted it to skip but not at the same rate and the truck loop so make it always new and always mismatched. This is posted at a time that this football team has lost 8 consecutive games.

21. Silent Film. William and I were out for a walk down our alley and I was looking at the power and telephone wires, thinking, as many have before, about the silent messages that travel through them. All that noise, but so quiet. A few days before, I'd impulse purchased Simon and Garfunkel's greatest hits at the Walmart check out for $5 and had been playing it in the car. William was hearing songs such as Sound of Silence for the first time so I told him to talk about silence as I pointed the camera at the wires. This was a live improvisation with the camera rather than some of the others which were recorded separately. The only relevance to this is that I couldn't move the camera out of sound recording range of William (had to keep it low) and also did not want to end up with him in the shot. I also could not end the shot in mid thought or mid sentence, forcing me to keep shooting even when I didn't have a good angle at things. His use of the terms "Buggering" was certainly a slip to which he meant "bugging".

22. Sunflower King. This is a really beautiful, 6 foot tall sunflower growing beside our car behind our house. I shot it because it was pretty, not because it meant anything. I put it into After Effects and applied the tint effect and varied the replacement of the black and the white to shifting colours until eventually fading the effect off. I was going to call it "Sunflower" and leave it silent, but Youtube is not full of silent films so I figured I'd add something. I looked into my audio files and found William playing a kazoo last year. In once track, he plays God Save the Queen so I put it on. It was only about 9 seconds long so I stretched it to run the whole length of the film. It is eerie because of the unrecognizable nature of it. The only joke is that the title at the end reveals the audio source and will drive the viewer crazy, deciding whether or not to watch/listen to it again or not.

23. You Drive Me... This is another piece of video shot on the farm when Margaret was giving William his very first driving lesson. I shot just this first little piece. If I'd left only the original sound on, you would be able to hear Margaret tell him to stop just before the shot ends. He is about to run into the little pile of hay. Over top of it I put a chunk of my soundtrack from my recent super-8 film "Matchbox Weekend" with the horns honking (parodying Jean-Luc Godard's "Weekend"). The crash sound at the end, as the shot disappears, is from sound effects collections. The horns and the crash make the process of driving very stressful. I think he was pretty nervous. I took him out again the next day and he started to relax.

24. This Trip Blows. This is shot in telephoto out the front window of my car while I was driving (and shooting) on the ring road just after it stopped raining. However, the water had already disappeared off the road so there was not the affect I had wanted. I turned the film around different ways (upside down, backwards, mixed) and found that the backwards version was pleasing and felt natural, as if one was looking out the back window of the car. I paired it with some air being leaked from a balloon which I recorded for a foley project a few years ago. I don't have any good reason why I paired these except that this particular film has no logic or reason or merit and I just wanted it done. My commitment to projects is strong but the commitment to quality is weak. I was thinking of calling it "This Film Blows" but thought I should at least pretend to have some self respect. The title would make more sense if I was actually going someplace, rather than just running errands around the city.

25. Copy Cat. I wanted to experiment with building a figure out of parts of itself using After Effects. I had shot Nick, my black cat, walking past from above and decided it would be a good choice. However, the shot was held somewhat steadily but was not locked down, do the effects were more difficult. I created moving mats of the cat but, as is the nature of this entire series, I was busy and did not have time set aside to do this right. The result is random and sort of amusing but never really tricks the viewer. I need to spend more time working on merging figures.

26. Is This Apeeling? This was shot at roughly the same time as the next video. We had a lot of limes in the frig and the skins were getting tough. Margaret thought they were no good but I found they were still nice inside, but not for garnishes on drinks. One had gone bad so the clock was ticking. I squeezed them all for juice and put the squeezed rinds on a plate. This is shot in macro with the camera stationary on the table and the plate slowly rotating. I had no turntable or help so the starts and stops were inevitable. Residual camera noises were left in.

27. Sweet Victory. The limes I squeezed from the previous film filled half a large glass. William has always liked extremely sour things and likes sucking lemons and limes. I suggested this film and he was game. The interesting thing was how awake and animated he was immediately after drinking it. The affect took him by surprise. I used this footage again in 28.

28. Limey Drunk. I was very amused by the animated actions William involuntarily performed immediately after he drank this lime juice. I watched the key moments over and over and then decided to make a video from those moments. It was quickly done but I'm pleased with the rhythm. He consented before I posted it, as he is a teenager and eventually he will be more worried about how he looks in public.

29. The Business End of the Camera. This is one of the only videos in this series not shot with my little Canon sureshot. This was me testing the Dragonframe software to make certain that I knew how to shoot and export and all that. It is the free download so is watermarked. I used the webcam on my computer (and thus the 3:4 aspect ratio). It contains images on my desk such as scissors and the eyeball I'd used previously. It is random improvisation, with crude references to surrealism.

30. Mumble-I-Graff. A few years ago I got this retro-toy called the "Mov-I-Graff" which is a 5x7 inch card with a drawing and a thin chain. You can move the chain into various positions to make it into the front half of the face of the drawing. It has been on my desk since I got it (can't remember where) and this is the first time I've ever made anything with it. Mostly I followed the instructions, vibrating it between frames. Sometimes I moved it. This was shot at the university using the Dragonframe software at the end of class. It was licensed and hooked up to an SLR, making it another film not using my consumer level camera. William supplied the voice, sight unseen, and I matched them together.

31. Begin and End. This is shot for this purpose near my car in the University parking lot. I wanted to explore some simulations of colourized film since I was reading about stenciling techniques in the book "Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema". I altered the image to be high contrast black and white and tried to select general areas of the frame and filled them with colour. The colour was on a lower level of the after effects and I blurred it so as to simulate some inaccurate dying of the colour. I think the colour range is too large, detracting from my intention.

32. Stomp. We were sitting on the deck and William had been tapping his food. I tried to record him without him knowing what I was recording so that he wouldn't be self conscious. At first he didn't notice (or perhaps didn't care) but had slowed down his tapping so I didn't get much material. I cut it together with some sliding frames because my original intention was for it to be a split screen with each foot tapping to its own cycle. This failed so I just goofed around with it.

33 Eye Don't See. This is a toy eye which, no matter which way you turn it, faces upward. While sort of cool, it is no good for what you naturally want it for, to put onto your face as a google eye. Therefore, it has been sitting around the house for a long time for no reason. I dropped it on the floor and it rolled around in an odd way so I started carrying it around and seeing if I could replicate the event while the camera was rolling. I had poor results. By the time I had the camera in focus and rolling, the eye was almost stopping. I took some of these shots and ran them backwards so that the motion would magically build and the interior would start moving of its own volition. The sound is William playing the broken mini-grand piano which is on Margaret's family farm, having been parked there for four decades. Most of the keys hit broken or mistuned or loose strings.

34 Tick in the Wall. William and I were outside of the Cultural Exchange society during a sale of a number of groups selling vintage clothes. Margaret was taking her time so the two of us went outside. He'd been making a tick tick tick sound so I tried to get him to do it. I was just doing an improvised study of him and the wall. I got him to say tick tick once with the camera close to him and I used that piece of audio over top of the camera audio, which is mostly the same thing except for having more noise.

35 Drive By Shooting. This was shot out the window of my car while I was stopped at the new traffic light by the University of Regina. They were fixing/installing something to do with these new lights. I had CBC radio on softly and the camera movement made noise. I left the original soundtrack on it.

36 Global-Micro-Dino-Theatre. My office at the university is crammed with stuff: books, films, tapes, discs props, backdrops, costumes, cameras, equipment, and many other things. It is also my studio because I have no other studio. I built this little metal stage from pieces of flat iron I had sitting around that I'd used for a film mount a could of years ago. I unscrewed what I had but made a rectangle that I then began hanging beads from. The beads were left over from one of Margaret's art evens and I'd taken them to my office to give away but were still sitting around. I also hung one piece of transparency with the words "Global Village" on it that was left over from a Marshall McLuhan film from the late 90s. The dinosaur was on my desk from the Defying Extinction project in the summer. I just wanted to get a sense of what this stage might work like. I didn't have a tripod or operator, it is must me doing a two handed thing. I showed it to William and he improvised some roars. I'd actually wanted him to do a voice for the dinosaur, but I didn't want to overly lead him.

37. Purr. I was looking for some cat purrs and meows for one of the previous films in this series and couldn't find much (from my own collection). I began trying to record or video the cats whenever they were making noise. Sylvie was purring loudly so I shot this. She was very interested in being near me on my lap in front of my computer (beside William and his computer). To intensify the sound, I layered the cat, superimposing him on top of himself.

38. Self Doubt. Kallie Garcia, a grad student I've worked with over the past year (but whom I am no longer supervising due to her program change) stopped by to chat. I gave her some beads and a tiara from the collection of beads I mentioned in #36. She's been driving a truck for the city and feeling more positive about stuff, taking on a persona of this "ditsy blonde" character who is very up and happy. Creating new personalities for oneself is a common practice in an MFA program. She has new lyrics for this song, rewritten to be about grad school. This was shot in my office. I edited it only slightly, putting the end of the clip of what I shot at the beginning.

39. Goodbye Planet Earth. This image is unaltered, it is the image I shot with the sound removed and replaced. It is shot from my living room out the front window which had a lot of reflections on it from the inside of the house as well as things blowing around outside the window. The sun was shining through the leaves, creating flickering effects. Nick. our black cat, is sitting just below the show and his presence is seen slightly a couple of times. Much of the distortion is YouTube compression. Once i shot it, William chose to make wee woo wee woo sounds simulating a Theremin. I spoke at the same time, playing a space man who is saying goodbye to his family, expecting to die in space. I pointed the microphone at William so that my voice would be lost in the noise.

40. Aisle Talk. William and I went to the Safeway grocery store on 13th Avenue (Regina) to pick up a few things. I had a vague idea of this when we went but no real plan. We walked around the store looking for packages with faces on them and took turns making up things for those characters to say. The sequence is about 80% in the order it was shot, but I trimmed here and there and intercut a couple of the shots. The sound was recorded live as I shot, leading to discrepancies in the background sound and audio quality, as well as some clipping of the beginning and/or end of the shot due to how the camera comes up to speed.

41. Tele-Monkeying. We don't answer the phone when we don't recognize the number or when they are obviously telemarketing calls. Most such callers don't leave a message. Some which are prerecorded messages, just play their message over our outgoing telephone answering machine (we still use a recording machine rather than voice mail at home). As a result, we got this message with the first 30 seconds missing. I don't know what he was threatening us with, but it seemed quite comical. This is two videos, both shot to the playback of the message: one of William with a phone and the other of me performing with the most convenient puppet, "Monkey", which was then inserted into the first shot. No rehearsal.

42. Kentridging ... is that a verb? I wanted to experiment with the projections and anamorphic stretched images as reflected into and re-assembled through a reflected cylinder like some of the work done by William Kentridge such as "What Will Come". I found this cylinder at a store; it is a holder for a bathroom brush but is nicely made, metal with a smooth well chromed surface. When Rania Al Harthi, an interdisciplinary student in fine arts asked me about something similar, I decided to do a quick attempt at his. We fed a video of a class workshop (in which she and I appear) into a small video projector which I could hand hold and we shot the resulting reflection. We when swapped the shot video into the projector and observed the resulting reflection, which I then captured again. It is slowed to half speed, including the audio, to get a clearer sense of it (as it was shaky and hand held).

43. Super Fall Leaves. I was thinking about techniques for in-camera superimpositions where the more lit or light coloured objects you have, the brighter the image becomes. When superimposing with software, the darker areas are dominant, making the light areas only appear if they are on top of each other. I realized that to reverse this dominance, I would have to work in negative. This shot is a four minute, locked down shot of coloured leaves at the corner of my house. I took the shot and divided it into four one minute shots, layered them on top of each other, turned them all to negative, turned the top three layers partially transparent, brought the collected image into another timeline where I turned it back to positive and exported it.

44. Latte's Edge. I have already forgotten the logic between staring at the cafe latte in my kitchen and connecting it to Razor's Edge. Maybe it was something someone said, or perhaps it was the hissing of the steamer which sounded sharp, but this began with the title. I shot a bunch of relatively abstract images of the foam then went upstairs and looked up the text for "The Razor's Edge" by W. Somerset Maugham, did some searches on the text for works like coffee, drink, foam, and so on. I eventually hit "bitter" and this quote which I had William read: “Passion is destructive . . . and if it doesn't destroy, it dies. It may be then that one is faced with the desolation of knowing that one has wasted the years of one's life, that one's brought disgrace upon oneself, endured the frightful pang of jealousy, swallowed every bitter mortification, that one's expended all one's tenderness, poured out all the riches of one's soul on a poor drab, a fool, a peg on which one hung one's dreams, who wasn't worth a stick of chewing gum.”

45. Once More Around. William wanted to make home made donuts so he and Margaret did. They rolled out dough and cut it into circles and cut holes into the middles and fried them in grape seed oil. They have great texture but really need to be rolled in sugar or even honey-infused sugar. I had William improvise, with no warning, something about circles. By this point in this project, he put pieces together and knew I'd put it with the donut footage I'd shot, even though it was recorded hours later.

46. Is This Clear? We were at an event at the Artesian in Regina where I'd expected I would shoot a video, perhaps of or with Dennis Jackson who was the recipient of the UofR Film Department distinguished alumni award. However, I ended up not shooting anything with Dennis and only at the end of the evening did I think to shoot anything. This is a lamp in their lounge which had stained glass and dangly crystals. I superimposed the video on top of itself, but each later slightly of of phase from the last. Similar to the circle discussion in #45, I asked William to talk about "sparkles", not knowing what he'd say (but hoping he'd reference vampires in Twilight, which did not).

47. Boogie to Death. I had been carrying this plastic skull around for about 45 days, trying to fit it into some of these short films. I would usually forget. As I knew I was coming to the end, I handed it to William and asked him to hum the music in his book as the skull. He's been practicing his sight reading under the tutelage of his piano teacher Jonathan Dyck. William didn't want to do a piece he'd never practiced before so I had him do this piece, Bumble Boogie, which he's been playing for the past couple of weeks.

48. Cloning. William did a school project for a cross-over course in English+Science. The topic had to be related to reproduction so he worked on "cloning". The first task he set himself to do was to plan a video. I shot this when I came into the basement where he was working in low light on his storyboard which I thought was a comic strip. However, when I discovered his plan to make an ambitious video, I pointed out that the science-fair-style presentation of the project might not fit this video so he begrudgingly made a poster, worked in a logical reason to have real applies on hand as physical demonstrations, a copy of "Brave New World" which he read last year, and he planned his talk. Once those parts were done and there only hours before the presentation, he wanted to add this video that I shot to his program. I recut it with a different title at the head and no title at the tail and I cut out my voice and shifted the voice over backwards about 2 seconds so that it would correspond to the image. He played it on a looping dvd on the portable player. He got a 90% in both subject areas.

49. Canister's Detour. This follows Star Bright, Meagre Might in which my continuing character, Canister the Robot, has been lost in the realm of the microscopic. Somehow he has now returned but accidentally in the form of a toy (this is a Ken doll with a paper helmet to reflect the same and design of the plastic bucket I wear when I am him). As his form is altered to one that will be seen again in the forthcoming Mr. Saul/Canister crossover, I had William do his voice. After recording the monologue, I cut it and played it back over my computer while puppeteering the doll in front of green cloth hanging over my door in my office near the computer. I wanted it set in 1973 instead of the usual 1964. I searched in the Prelinger Archives ( for city images in 1973 and this public domain film called "Century 21 Calling" came up and it looked so great that I used it. Only after I cut it in place did I realize that it was, in fact, made in 1964 and was only set in the future.

50. Mr. Saul's Mid-Life Crisis. Earlier in the day of making this, I spoke to Ian Campbell who offered me the use of an interesting spaceship set he'd built for me to use in one of these videos if I wanted it. This was a great offer but, I explained, the series was ending today and I already had a plan. The only actual plan was that it would be a "Mr. Saul" film, part of a series I began a decade ago and keep returning to. When I got home, I was busy as I was expecting family later in the week and didn't know if they would be coming to the house or not. My fish tank looked really awful so I cleaned it. The water afterwards, before the remaining sediment settled, was impenetrable. I wanted to make sure my four fish were all okay (I had one jump out and die once. Another time, I moved a plant on top of one while cleaning the tank. He was under it for an hour but survived). I started shining my flashlight in to look and was fascinated by the effect. I started recording it. I then wrote my script based upon the fish and Ian.