The City is the world, a world filled with NOISE––a virtual ocean, a digital jungle. Set in and around a dystopian fictionalized City in the year 2035, unemployment, class warfare, and hyper-commerce provide the social backdrop in which a job-hungry data-miner, David Phoenix, attempts to survive. A CITY TO MAKE ME follows the psychological journey of a man exposed to deep politics and dark power as he becomes a Transhuman agent for the revolution, fighting against an all-powerful corporation on the verge of total information control.



Friday, January 29, 2010

Busy Week...Props, Script, Wardrobe...AND MORE!

So it's been a week of transitions. On a positive note, Chris Rubano and I toured American Science and Surplus last night, which became immediate food for thought. Exactly HOW will we re-appropriate found objects? We need to get some prototypes going and Chris has agreed to start pricing and pooling together resources to accomplish just that.

More...I'm meeting with Zulema tomorrow to go over her current 'state of the art' in providing wardrobe and costumes for this project. Meeting at a little coffee shop near her home, Matt Hughes will join us at 3pm. John Bisoski, just last night, sent me his next draft of the 'Diner Scene' concept art. It's coming together!

SO, the working world of film pre-production continues. I'm tossing around the outline for Act II as time allows. Right now I'm focusing on, as Bruce Snyder would put it, the 'promise of the premise.'

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

NET-COM at your service...

LINK to original article: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/01/pl_print_watchers/

Shane Harris says that in 2004, when he first shook hands with retired admiral John Poindexter, he thought he was meeting an “evil genius.”

More...Shane Harris says that in 2004, when he first shook hands with retired admiral John Poindexter, he thought he was meeting an “evil genius.” Poindexter had become infamous in the ’80s for orchestrating the Iran-Contra scheme with the help of an at-home encrypted data line. After 9/11, he fell into further disrepute as the architect of Total Information Awareness, an antiterrorism program that proposed collecting as much data as possible — emails, credit card statements, even veterinarian bills — about everyone on the planet. It was too much even for a war-on-terror-era Congress, which shuttered the vast data-mining project in 2003 and ran Poindexter out of office.

But as Harris, a correspondent for National Journal (and, full disclosure, a friend of mine) got to know Poindexter — hanging out on his boat, sharing lunches of Spam and Tequiza, and trading documents over a private file-sharing network — he was impressed by the admiral’s relentless intellect. “This guy gets knocked down time and time again and keeps coming back for more,” Harris says. He also began taking a fresh look at Poindexter’s Orwellian approach to data-mining. “He feels that if you don’t know who you’re looking for, if you don’t know where the threat is coming from,” Harris says, “maybe you need to look for patterns in that sea of information.”

The Watchers, Harris’ new biography of Poindexter, turns out to be a loving portrait of a rather unlovable man. In this book, the technovillain is a misunderstood hero, as obsessed with preserving privacy as with catching suicide bombers. Harris describes his “visionary” subject as “H. G. Wells and Albert Einstein in one package.” But even Poindexter’s chronicler acknowledges that the government’s attempts to take a TIA-like approach to data collection haven’t worked. “Anytime the government has tried to demo this stuff, it took a long time and produced a lot of garbage,” Harris says. The Feds find it hard enough to spot obvious warning signs — email to radical imams, purchases of high-powered firearms. Adding more haystacks doesn’t make it any easier to find those needles.

Monday, January 25, 2010

State of the Art...

Pumzi, Kenya’s first science fiction film, imagines a dystopian future 35 years after water wars have torn the world apart. East African survivors of the ecological devastation remain locked away in contained communities, but a young woman in possession of a germinating seed struggles against the governing council to bring the plant to Earth’s ruined surface.

Read More http://www.wired.com/underwire/2010/01/pumzi/#ixzz0dfO2lx3e

Crude oil from algae... :) Wicked.


Found this while surfing, found it fascinating enough to share...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Andrew Benz and Moving on...

Over the weekend Andrew and I decided that it would be best for him to bow out of this project. The reasons are many, mostly financial. He has been unable to commit to the essential functions of his work as D.P. on this project while balancing his other freelance projects. It takes a certain kind of person, at a certain point in life, to commit to a project of this scale without investors 'lined up.' Andrew is not that person. We wish him the best with his future projects!

Monday, January 18, 2010

3D Bioprinter promises tissue on demand... (nextnature.net)

091229-Bioprinter-02Behold “the world’s first production model 3D bio-printer.” A machine capable of arranging human cells and artificial scaffolds into complex three-dimensional structures, which result in such wonderful things as printed design meat, replacement organ tissue, or perhaps artificially grown teeth.

More...“Scientists and engineers can use the 3D bio printers to enable placing cells of almost any type into a desired pattern in 3D,” says Keith Murphy, CEO of Organovo – the San Diego based company who will supply the devices institutions investigating human tissue repair and organ replacement.

“Researchers can place liver cells on a preformed scaffold, support kidney cells with a co-printed scaffold, or form adjacent layers of epithelial and stromal soft tissue that grow into a mature tooth. Ultimately the idea would be for surgeons to have tissue on demand for various uses, and the best way to do that is get a number of bio-printers into the hands of researchers and give them the ability to make three dimensional tissues on demand.”

Building human organs cell-by-cell was considered science fiction not that long ago, but now rapidly becomes science faction. Yet another step in the blending of the ‘made’ and the ‘born’.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chris Rubano's Prop Manifesto...[You saw it here FIRST!]

Here you go... It's a prop manifesto!

There is an interesting trend that I've noticed in designed objects; as the object becomes integrated into our cultural consciousness, there is a tendency for them to become more artfully designed. While true for many things, this trend is evidenced in both automobiles and computers – two modern technologies heavily marketed directly to average consumers.

The automobile was invented just before the turn of the 20th Century at a point in time when objects were often handmade; mass production was yet in its infancy. Those early automobiles looked essentially like a cross between a bicycle and a carriage. In fact, most automobile manufacturers of that period began as bicycle manufacturers. However, with the introduction of mass production technology, automobiles became more standardized. Subsequently, the average price reduced to the point where the common man could finally afford them.
By the 1920s, the automobile had become ingrained into our society. It was at this point that manufacturers began to focus more on the formal aspects of the auto. People no longer had to be convinced to buy an auto; that point had become readily apparent. In stead, the focus shifted towards the aesthetic of the object itself. Think about the Rolls-Royce Phantom from the 1920s, or the Roadster from the 1930s. Both are logical continuations of trends first introduced with the widespread acceptance of the Model-A and T. By the 1930s, the shape of an auto's hood became almost as important as the technology underneath it. The onset of World War II saw a sharp decrease in automobiles sold in the US. The next leap forward in automobile style would come after the war.

With so much prosperity, it became even more difficult for autos to stand out in a crowded marketplace. In the late 1940s and certainly into the 1950s, automobiles became almost fantastical in design; it was the era of big-name car designers. Incorporating design elements from the Space Race, cars came to look more like rockets than land-based vehicles. But things changed; the pendulum began to swing the other way. In the 1960s, there was a paring-down of the over-stuffed design of the 1950s. The size of the autos didn't change, and certainly not the technology behind them. The most noticeable shift was towards a more streamlined, “boxy” look.

This trend continued into the 1970s, but certainly accelerated in the 1980s. A case could be made that the new spartan aesthetic was the pendulum reaching it's other apex, but I have come to believe that it was a result of different economic situations. In the post-war period, money seemed to grow on trees; it was a very optimistic time in our history. Naturally, manufactured goods were produced to capture that feeling of a new American day dawning.

But as America progressed into the 1960s and 1970s, the country began to backslide economically. And no industry was more vulnerable to this trend as the automobile industry. Cars began to look like moving boxes. With the 1990s, the US would see an economic shift towards prosperity. The design of the automobile became more ostentatious – all curves and sexiness. This trend would continue well into the 2000s. With the onset of 2010, the US is at the center of a global economic downturn – which has had an equally profound effect on automobile design. The overriding aesthetic has again shifted to a more conservative, pared-down look. This will likely continue into the future until we recapture that feeling of euphoria that attends an increase in prosperity.

A similar observation can be made regarding personal computers. The aesthetics of this device owe much to the effects of miniaturization – where old computers were large and ungainly, newer computers can be placed in a case smaller than an X-Box. Despite the general decrease in size over time, similar parallels to the automobile can be made. Originally, computers were enormous beasts made of tubes. After transistors revolutionized electronics, they could be made much smaller and inexpensive. The computer, for many years, was designed very plainly. When consumer-level computers finally reached a heavy enough density, the drive towards a more aesthetically pleasing visual design commenced. The overall design went from completely nondescript to visually striking, and now back to a minimalist approach. Likely, computers will undergo another shift in visual design in the future. Perhaps they will mimic the radios and televisions from the 1950s – which were designed to resemble furniture.

There is no straight-forward “this-leads-to-that” logical progression in the visual design of a given device; instead it's a push-and-pull that's deeply rooted in the zeitgeist and economic situation of a particular time. This always makes predicting the future of design a difficult business. Most future-spec fiction becomes an extension of the times that birthed it. Future-spec fiction written during the Brass-Age looks “steam-punk” to us; stories written in the 1960s retain a clunky Space-Race feel; and Sci-fi from the 1990s looks breathless and polished.

The way to counteract this tendency to make the future look like an extension of the present is to make a melange of different time-periods. Just as you continue to see old beaten-up cars from the 1980s and 90s on the road today, we should see a mix of old and new technologies in ACtMM. The rich will have whatever analogue for the iPhone that exists in the future, but we should also see the Nokia 6110 of the future, too.

Whew! Now I'm winded,

C M Rubano

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Andrew Benz...

A few notes on Andrew Benz...He knows more about the technology of filmmaking than anyone I know.  His insights concerning the script, marketing strategies, and festival politics have been a much needed guiding hand during the pre-production phase of this project.  Thank you Andrew!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Zulema and Areill are amazing creators...

So, not knowing EXACTLY what I was getting into when I ventured over to Zulema's studio on Monday, I was immediately embraced with warm hospitality and enthusiastic interest in 'what's next' for A City to Make Me... Before we got to those discussions though, Zulema gave a tour of her creative world, i.e. her amazing collage work, her re-styled hybrid fashions, wigs, and clip-art fashion references... It was immediately apparent, and exciting, that she was obviously perfect for the role of designer and manager of all things fashion, costume, make-up, and hair.  She has an impeccable eye for detail.  She's worked fashion shows with literally HUNDREDS of models, management, staff...and kept her head.  So, needless to say, I feel like FATE has blessed us with Zulema...

As it turns out, her boyfriend Areill is an incredibly talented designer in his own right.  Not only is he a designer, but has connections to the fashion world that fit perfectly with the concepts and direction of this project.  He enthusiastically shared some of his ideas, showed me a handful of designs, and my reaction was: THEY'RE PERFECT! So, I'm looking forward to working with these two.  We're currently in the process of negotiating a collaboration with a hi-end fashion boutique to feature their designs in ACtMM...I'll keep you posted with exactly WHO they are as we solidify the relationship.

Thank you Zulema and Areill!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Re-Introducing Joe Orlandino...

As most of you know, Joe Orlandino has come aboard as an 'interested party' in 'The City...' project.  Joe recently kicked off his new blog and it makes for inspiring reading: http://joeorlandino.wordpress.com/

A few notes on Joe: He's currently chief marketing consultant for Reel Chicago.  Ruth Ratny's 'Reel Chicago' should be familiar to most people in the Chicago film industry, and dare I say beyond.  That fact, in and of itself, makes Joe an exciting addition to our team.  He has also recently signed a contract with Fetcher Media, an online DVD distributor, as their Chief Marketing Officer.

These are just a few cliff notes from Joe's blog!  Read it for yourself!

The week in advance...

This week is booked!  This is why I love filmmaking!  Every night, it's a different specialty, a new feast of ideas...Tonight, a meeting with Zulema to go over her concepts for costumes.  On the agenda?  All the 'have to' fashions for the project.  What are the journalists of the future wearing?  How about the CEO's and working class?  We've got some ground to cover.  I'm hoping to meet with Matt Hughes on Tuesday to review the latest additions to the script.  Wednesday is booked with learning new software for a system to 'organically edit complex HD video sequences.'  Thursday, a meeting between myself, John B., and Pei -- future architecture and cityscapes.  Chris Rubano just sent me an e-mail with an incredibly DETAILED list of props that we need, scene by scene.  He's forwarding his prop concepts on the team by Thursday...

It's going to be a busy week!  I'll keep you posted.

Friday, January 8, 2010

FUTURE NOW is real...It's called Wikileaks.

FUTURE NOW, the dissident group unveiled in A City to Make Me is not a FICTIONAL story, it's real world.  It's now.  The most brilliant idea I've heard all day?  Creating an 'offshore information state' where gag orders, advertisers, and governments have no control over what you read or what you hear...     http://wikileaks.org/

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Concept Artist John Bisoski...

I wasn't sure what I was going to get when John arrived at my apartment last night...Was I getting 'yet another' collaborator who talks a good game, listens intently, but does nothing?  Or, was I getting a collaborator who could also own this project, who would push themselves creatively? I'm just going to float John's boat here.  He arrived to our meeting last night, the second since we've met, completely prepared!  He brought with him 10 or more large scale drawings based on ideas from the Act I.  I was immediately excited about John's ability to frame and visualize the concepts of this project.  John Bisoski has more talent in his little finger that I have in the entire right side of my body...My left side, well, that's pretty impressive...The point is I'm thrilled to have John visualizing this project.  WE couldn't do it without him.  I'm sure you'll be as excited as I am to see the results...For the first time, "A City" in its pure form, its imagined form, will be made flesh.  Heads up, Pei...We need to sit down and discuss YOUR ideas for 'The City' so that John can integrate them into his drawings.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

nextnature.net, clooney omega, and the metaverse...

Thought I would share a few things that have inspired me over the last few days! Images, a website, the info-sphere...

First, http://www.nextnature.net/.  Check it out.  This site is a minefield of concepts, verbage, hybrid lingo, and ideas...I find myself drifting through the metaverse just linking from fascinating image to fascinating story...

Second, a fun OMEGA watches Ad with George Clooney, image attached.  I love the minimalism of his 'prop.'  Re-purposing current tech is absolutely fine by me.  Let's get inventive.

And last, the script is cruising along.  Cuts, hacking, slashing...Never mind the vats of acid in the bathroom or the butcher's apron...Everything is fine. : )

Meeting with John Bisoski tonight to go over thumbnails of his intro concept sketches.

Send me links of anything that inspires you!  Enjoy the imagery.

And, finally...Mr. Clooney...sporting a very fashionable appliance...