So I haven’t raised enough money to make a 35mm film print (yet). But I did raise enough to make a Digital Cinema Package, because the Stuttgart International Animation Festival offered a deal. And I borrowed enough to buy a new computer to re-render the entire 82-minute feature at a suitable higher resolution.
See, when I started Sita Sings the Blues, I couldn’t afford the processor power or disk space to work at the ideal resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels. Instead I compromised at 1280 x 720 pixels, which in spite of being half the ideal resolution looks almost as good. The 35mm film test I did of Battle of Lanka looks great, anyway. But film has a natural grain, plus film floats around the screen a little, a result of analog frame registration (aka sprockets), both of which mask and “warm up” digital flaws. D-Cinema, however, has rock-solid registration and no grain, making it potentially less forgiving than film. Meanwhile computers and hard drives have gotten predictably cheaper since I began the project, and December is a “lost month” in New York anyway, it’s not like I’d have any freelance gigs or make any headway on promotions, and everyone gets lazy at work or leaves town, so… here I am, watching little blue progress bars for hours and days on end. Boring? You bet! But it will make the movie look infinitesimally better, so it’s all worth it. Also, D-Cinema supports 6-channel audio, so my sound designer is planning a super-duper surround-sound experience, which will make the picture look a lot better.
Update: all 10 copies are now sold or spoken for.
When I recently visited San Francisco, my best friend Ian picked up the last of my boxes stored at the old apartment I once shared with my ex-husband. Riffling through the contents I discovered a treasure-trove of still shrink-wrapped copies of my first book, Depression Is Fun. This has been out-of-print almost since its publication in 1992. But now I have 10 copies here in New York, and they’re on sale for $25 postpaid (and signed, if you want) each. These puppies are going for $30, $50, and – holy crap! – almost $90 online as “collectibles.” As always, my email address is at the bottom of the middle column, the one with the pictures linking to my movies and cartoons and stuff.
*”Blowganza” coined by Anne Altman
One of the most frequent questions I hear about Sita Sings the Blues – from desis, no less – is “Who is that red dude on the goat? Is that Satan?”
This is Agni, people. The Vedic god of fire! God of priests and Priest of Gods! I know he’s not worshipped much these days, but he was a big deal back in Valmiki’s time. When Sita enters the fire, Agni carries her right back out, unscathed.
Agni’s vehicle is the ram. I screwed up by putting him on a male goat, rather than a male sheep, which I learned is what a ram is while researching this post. Oops. Although he’s sometimes depicted riding a chariot pulled by goats, so it’s sort of a compromise. But he’s still Agni. He’s got two heads, one for the creative, useful power of fire and one for its out-of-control destructiveness. He’s got multiple arms. He’s red.
Update: SOLD! 12-9-07
Sure, there are lots of used dual 1.8GB G5 Towers with 2GB RAM and internal 80GB hard drives for sale at $800 (negotiable). But how many were used to make Sita Sings the Blues? Only this one. Also, it works good. I’m only upgrading because I have to re-render the entire film at higher resolution (1920 x 1080; it was 1280 x 720) and patience isn’t one of my virtues. I can also throw in a complete Final Cut Pro HD Production Suite, which is great except it won’t open fcp files made on newer Final Cut systems. No problem if you’re working alone. And I’m still hawking my excellent printer.
An ongoing feature in which I recommend the work and websites of people who buy me lunch. Today’s entry: The Purugganan Lab!
What does animation have to do with genetic biology? Lunch! Yesterday I was treated to pizza at Otto by not only friend and NYU Professor Michael Purugganan, but also a bunch of Postdoctoral Fellows, Graduate Students, and Technicians who are exploring the The Molecular Evolutionary Ecology of Plant Development, among other genetic biology type things.
Before lunch I got to visit the Purugganan lab itself!
It sure looks science-y, doesn’t it?
I learned some important science things, such as in Europe you can’t just go planting genetically modified plants willy-nilly like we do in the US; that at least one visiting scientist enjoyed and recommends King Corn; and that many scientists are looking to date and marry non-scientists (contact lab for details). I feel more smarter now.
Would YOU like to be featured in Links for Lunch? Then buy me lunch. My email address is at the bottom of the middle column, the one with the pictures linking to my movies and cartoons and stuff.
An ongoing feature in which I recommend the work and websites of people who buy me dinner. Today’s entry: Amandeep Jawa!
Amandeep Jawa says he’s “gregarious,” which I learned, in the few hours I got to know him, is an understatement. As we walked through Deepistan – a neighborhood comprising both Dosa, where he bought me dinner, and Bi-Rite Creamery, where I could only sample tastes lest I explode – random passersby paid their respects to their unofficial mayor. Or is that Supreme Dictator? Rumor has it part of the region may split off and re-name itself Amandesh. You can keep abreast of Deep’s political activities here, and his gregariating (new word! no google results! I win!) at his blog DeepTrouble.com. Deep is also the official Bay Area Director of Fundraising for Sita Sings the Blues, so if you want to give me a pile of money but need to preview the movie first, contact him.
Would YOU like to be featured in Eats for Endorsement? Then buy me dinner. My email address is at the bottom of the middle column, the one with the pictures linking to my movies and cartoons and stuff.