Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Viva Las Continue!


On Tuesday, September 21, 2010 I flew down to Vegas for the Annual Meeting of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals. A new conference that assembles the best of the best from the world of spinal cord medicine, rehabilitation and adaptive equipment. This was the perfect place to promote and begin distributing our film "continue".


Wednesday morning, I met Jeff Rosenbluth at our booth. We assembled the 50-inch television that Jeff hauled from Salt Lake and set it up at our booth. This would be the centerpiece of our exhibit.


Around 11:30, Our DVDs arrived, hot off the press. I was concerned that there would be a delay, but Oasis, the company that produced our discs and packaging, delivered on time. 1000 DVDs, ready to be distributed and delivered by this guy.


The packaging turned out amazingly well. Everything from the print colors to the quality of paper used. Both Jeff and I were very pleased with the final result. Very nice.


The biggest surprise at the conference was my friend and one of the stars of "continue", Muffy Davis. I was finally able to give her a DVD of the project. Muffy and her husband Jeff are featured in the film's alpine skiing sequence. It was great to catch up and chat about potential future projects.



So, what's next for "continue"? In the weeks and months ahead, Jeff and I will begin delivering copies of the film to rehab facilities and other adaptive recreation/sport organizations across the country. We will also be sending the DVDs to the film's stars, crew and anyone who helped make the project a reality.  In addition to distribution, we will also be doing everything we can to get publicity in publications such as "Sports N Spokes", "Paraplegia News" and other magazines and websites that focus on disability and spinal cord injury. Our journey is complete as far as the film's production is concerned. Now we just want to focus on spreading our production far and wide.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Distribution... Finally!


For the past month and a half, I've been working on the marketing and packaging design for "continue". Levi Lebo, a local designer, has done an amazing job creating imagery that compliments our film. I'm extremely pleased with Levi's work. And also thank him for being patient with Jeff and I.

After weeks of hard work and several design revisions, Levi, Jeff and I finally completed the DVD packaging design. Last week we sent the image files to a DVD publishing company to have 1000 copies created for The 2010 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Spinal Cord Professionals, an upcoming conference in Las Vegas. Jeff and I will be heading down to promote the film on September 22 - 24 and hand out free copies of the DVD to conference goers. When we return, we will begin distributing the DVDs to rehab facilities accross the United States and elsewhere. We will also be delivering DVDs to the cast and crew who helped make the film possible.

Yes, it's taken a while to get the DVDs created. Several have sent me threatening messages, indicating that their patience has expired. I do apologize. However, in my (and Jeff's) defense, we wanted to make sure that the quality of the marketing/packaging materials was nothing less than outstanding. Why spend seven years on a production, just to slap something together in photoshop.

Currently, as I write this post, the DVDs are being pressed and finalized. They will be delivered to our Vegas destination, just in time for the conference. We will screen the film at our booth and talk about our production with those who work in the SCI industry. I'm excited to finally have a finished product. This final step marks the end of a very long and enjoyable journey.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Access Utah Network Interview - 9/9/2010


Here is an interview I did with Mark Smith and the Access Utah Network. Access Utah Network provides resources for those with disabilities. Mark and I chatted about "Continue" and other topics.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Movie Night at Jordan Commons



On Wednesday, May 12th, Jordan Commons Megaplex Theater hosted a fundraising dinner and movie night to bennefit Neuroworx. Neuroworx is a local physical therapy clinic dedicated to providing groundbreaking, activity-based therapy to individuals with paralysis from spinal cord injuries and disease. All proceeds from the screening went to Neuroworx.

For me, it was an honor having "Continue" selected as one of the films for the event. Alongside "The Men", a classic film featuring Marlon Brando in his first film role.



Prior to the film, guests had the option of purchasing an affordable pasta dinner. A ticket purchase also came with free treats.


It was a wonderful evening and the turnout was fantastic. Seeing "Continue" projected in a legitimate movie theater was also alot of fun. Although, it would have been nice to consult the projectionist beforehand. He/She accidentally projected both "The Men" and "Continue" in the wrong aspect ratios. "The Men" was projected at 1:85:1 instead of 1:33:1 and "Continue" was projected at 2:35:1 rather than 1:85:1. This gave both films and overly "stretched" look. Regardless, both films looked great on the big screen. And what an honor to be a part of such a great organization and it's fundraising efforts.


Friday, April 02, 2010

First Review - Disaboom


Here is the first review of "Continue", written by Kerry Laird for Disaboom:

Though it may not be common knowledge among the masses, most of us who have been there know that a spinal cord injury does not mean “end of life.” Stan Clawson, the director of the adaptive sports film Continue, offers a window into the world of possibilities open to people with spinal cord injury, possibilities that include bone-crushing martial arts, head-bobbing river tours and enough self-fulfillment to last a lifetime.

Continue features nearly 30 team and individual adaptive sports and indoor and outdoor activities for wheelchair and non-wheelchair users. Not since Mark Wellman’s No Barriers has a post-spinal cord injury film promised to “rehabilitate” the mind like Continue. While its main audience will be those with spinal cord injuries and their supporters, Clawson’s Continue has the potential to alter nondisabled people’s preconceived notions of wheelchair users and their quality of life.

“This is the film I wish I’d seen during my post-injury rehabilitation,” says Clawson, who sustained his paralyzing spinal cord injury during a rock-climbing accident. “We are making this film available to everyone free of charge,” continues Clawson. “Anyone will be able to watch [Continue] and download this film from the internet… to show them that life can continue following a severe injury and that paralysis is not a life sentence.”

Sans dialogue, Continue allows viewers to focus on the experiences on the screen. Produced by Jeffrey Rosenbluth, the film showcases the latest equipment for the slopes, the seas and the mountains, just to name a few. While the equipment may be high-priced, the freedom of mobility and exhilaration experienced by the film’s athletes remain irresistibly free.

With locations in Belize, California, Utah and Idaho, superb shots and seamless editing make Continue a joy to experience. Its cinematic-quality production will conjure wafts of buttered popcorn and the fizz of overpriced sodas to the comforts of your own couch. However, sitting though Continue encourages even the most fervent of couch potatoes to explore the available opportunities presented in Clawson and Rosenbluth’s vision.

Whether its paras ocean dancing in the midst of a nurse shark feeding frenzy or quads pounding the boards in search of the next score, Continue does not focus primarily on cream-of-the-crop athletes like other SCI-related sports films. It also highlights sports enthusiasts with no other inclination than to enjoy fresh air and a blood-pumping jaunt.

Viewers learn what is possible right now with the right equipment… and a doctor’s clearance, of course. Activities for paraplegics and quadriplegics alike appear with the funkadelic reggae-rock soundtrack. If you can use a sip and puff, Clawson confirms you can race down a ski slope, via a computer-generated model.

While the music periodically borders on maudlin, the awe-inspiring landscape that drapes the background reflects the audacity of the anonymous characters that carve, crank and careen their way along snowy ledges, dirt trails and raging rivers.

Anonymity, in fact, aligns Clawson’s Continue with an egalitarian spirit. The people in the short film – Continue runs under 30 minutes – reflect reality by offering a cross-cultural representation of the spinal cord injury community. Though different in color, culture, faith and fundamentals, it is the experience of spinal cord injury that unites this disparate group, and Continue is what they do.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Journey's End... And Beyond.














Today I finished outputting the final digital .mov file of "Continue". A sobering moment to say the least. For the past seven years, nearly every day, I have thought about or worked on this little labor of love. In that time, children have been born, learned to walk and talk and have even graduated from college. It's been a long journey.

The goal of this project was and is to show newly-injured patients (with spinal cord injuries) the world of adaptive recreation and sport. Imagine being active and then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, losing the ability to move your legs or arms. How would you handle the situation? I often encounter people who tell me: "If it had been me, I don't think I could have done it." They're referring to my own injury and subsequent recovery. But I always respond with the same words: "You never know until you're faced with that situation."

For some, the thought of being paralyzed is a death sentence. An unthinkable end. The truth is, paralysis is not a death sentence. In many ways, it's an opportunity. A chance to take a different path and experience things that no one else can. Here's a little secret that I've discovered: Having a disability affords the opportunity to engage in more activities than most able-bodied people will ever experience in a lifetime. Their are endless resources available to anyone with a disability. Including any recreational or sporting activity you can think of.

This film shows just a few. Jeff Rosenbluth uploaded the film to www.vimeo.com on March 20th. It is now available for viewing at: www.vimeo.com/10309216

We are also prepping the DVDs for rehab facilities and other select groups.

"Continue" has easily been the most difficult and most rewarding project I have ever worked on. I've enjoyed meeting new people and seeing their passion for sport and recreation. Their zest for life is contagious.

So, to all of those who helped make this journey possible... thank you.

Now, get out there and do. But first... please take a moment and watch "Continue".

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Let There Be Sound!


Steve Floyd stopped by this evening to put the finishing touches on the sound mix. Whenever you prep audio for a film, it's important to listen through speakers and not headphones. The reasoning behind this is simple: An audience isn't going to be watching your film and listening through a headset. Sound is just as important as vision. Most filmmakers focus all of their efforts on the visual and not the auditory. This is a huge mistake. Audio is the finishing touch that produces that thump and vibration throughout the viewer's body. It's essential to any good production.

Now that color correction and audio is complete, our film is essentially finished. Ready to "go to press".

To Be Continued...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Color Correction Ends!


Monday morning at 12:25 AM, Jeff Rosenbluth and I made the final color and contrast adjustments to "Continue". Yes, the end is almost near. The goal is to finish the sound mix early this week and make the final HD compression before Friday. If all goes according to plan "Continue" will be online by the weekend.


Jeff reminded me that this project has taken up almost 1/5 of my life. I started pre-production in 2003 and I'll be turning 34 on Saturday. Hopefully my next project will take less time. Hopefully I'll be able to turn my next project into a paying job.

So, for all those who've been patiently waiting... we are almost done. No, seriously, I mean it.

One final note: This week, Jeff and I had the rare and fortunate opportunity to spend the day with Kurt Miller. Kurt Miller is the son of famed extreme skiing filmmaker Warren Miller. Kurt saw our film and wanted to discuss the world of physical disability. For Jeff and I, the experience was surreal. After all, "Continue" is very much inspired by the Warren Miller ski movies we both grew up watching and admiring.

Up next... Sound and Vision.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Grading, NOT Correction

Tonight Jeff and I sat down and began grading the color and B/W levels of our film. It's taken a while to get to this point, but we're finally doing it. I say "grading" because apparently that's the correct term to use when referring to color correcting an image. The term "correcting" implies that something is wrong. Oh so terribly, terribly wrong.

When color grading, it's important to adjust the ambient room lighting. Too much glare on the monitor and you won't be able to accurately adjust the black, white and grey levels. These adjustments are made using a waveform monitor. First, grade or "crush" the blacks. No that's not supposed to be offensive, it simply means that you lower the black levels to the point where detail is lost. For example, shadows. This creates a contrasting look and is ideal for making the image pop. Once the black levels are set, it's time to further increase the image contrast by grading the white levels, or highlights. The goal is to push the white levels to the top line of the waveform monitor and drive the black levels to the bottom. Here's some video of Jeff doing just that:

video

Both Jeff and I shared the grading duties. He gets a Grade A+ for a job well done!

So, there you have it! Color correction 101. Jeff and I managed to finish 3:23 minutes of our film. Just 23-plus minutes to go and we'll be ready to compress for DVD and online viewing.

More to come...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Color Correction Commences


Now that our film is locked, it's time to make some final adjustments. Color Correction for film and video is not as easy as one might think. It takes a keen eye, patience and most of all a total lack of color blindness. The obvious solution to color correcting any film would be to hire a color corrector. But since we have limited funding, Jeff and I will have to perform all of the correction. Which isn't a bad thing. I come from a family of artists, so I feel as though I can claim to know what the hell I'm doing. Even if I really have no clue whatsoever.

Tonight we calibrated our HD Monitors. A task that took over an hour and a half. First, we threw color bars onto the screen. For most people, color bars are the annoying image that appears on network television just after the end of a broadcast day. Usually right after the Star Spangled Banner and just before the arrival of the Poltergeists. Several things must be adjusted in order to have a perfectly calibrated monitor: Hue, Gamma, Contrast, Brightness.

We first called upon Jeff's friend Nate to help us adjust our Sony monitor. Nate served as our projectionist for the premier of "Continue" and knows his stuff. Once our monitor was calibrated, we calibrated the color bars on that monitor. These two calibrations are critical to the color correction process. It is impossible to correctly adjust color (including whites, mids and black levels) without a perfectly calibrated monitor. We are also sending a true 720p signal to the monitor, which means that all pixels are mapped 1:1. There is no zooming or upscaling. What you see on the monitor is true 720p.


Our next step will be to calibrate for a Standard Definition (SD) monitor. We will be sending our video signal to both HD and SD monitors to color correct for both. Why? Because some people will see this film on an HD screen and others will watch it on a non-HD (Analog) television set. We want everyone to be happy with the final image.

Once the HD and SD monitors are calibrated, Jeff and I will begin the painstaking process of color correcting each shot in our film.

Next: More color correction.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Premier


"When will the film be finished?" "You're STILL working on it?" "I'm still waiting for my DVD." Yes, I've heard these and many other similar comments in recent days. Everyone wants to know when the film will be ready for release. So... I thought I'd take a moment and answer these questions. Additionally, I thought I'd finally write a post about the premier.

Jeff Rosenbluth and I are meeting next week to finish all color correction on the project. The reason it's taken as long as it has is simple: Both of us are doing this project as a labor of love and must find time (away from our regular 8 to 5 jobs) to connect and work. We've also been researching the best methods for producing a quality DVD. Since our budget is small, we don't have the ability to hire a post-production company. Yes, that would be easy, but it also costs a crap load of dough. Instead, we are doing what we've done this entire project: working on the film ourselves.

So, yes... the film isn't dead. We are doing everything we can to ensure that the viewer gets unparalleled quality when viewing the film.


In addition to the DVD quality, we are also working on finalizing DVD packaging and finding a solution to hosting the film online and uncut. YouTube is great, but it would require breaking our film into several segments. That's just not an option. "Continue" should be viewed continuously without breaks or inturruptions.

Okay... the Premier.


On September 23rd at 8:15, "Continue" made it's local premier at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Guests arrived from 7:30 to 8:00. Refreshments were served and the turnout was unbelievable. Volunteers from the University Hospital spent hours decorating and making sure that everything went off without a hitch. An unbelievable effort. This included haning balloons, banners and laying out the red carpet.


While all of this was happening, Jeff and I were putting the finishing touches on our project. We literally finished color correcting for projection the morning of the premier. Everything went extremely well, however at one point Jeff found an editing glitch. He called me and I ran back to fix the mistake. After compressing a final QuickTme version of the film, we raced up to the stadium to do a test projection. Jeff's friend Nate, who works as a projection expert for Sony Pictures was on hand to calibrate and run the projector.

By the time people began to arrive, everything was calibrated and ready to go.






Jeff and I were nervous. Optimistic. Hoping and praying that the technology wouldn't betray us. Hoping that the 300 plus in attendance would enjoy our film. Especially those with spinal cord injuries.



At 7:55, David Entwistle, the CEO of University Hospitals and Clinics, made some opening remarks. Following David, Elie Elovic, M.D., the head of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, talked about the film.




At 8:05, Jeff and I took to the stage. Jeff talked about the film and our seven-year filmmaking journey. He also talked about why we made "Continue" and our plans for distribution. I said a few things, but was so nervous about the projection that I can't recolect what I said.


At 8:15, we dimmed the lights and rolled the film. Jeff and I watched from the side, nervous as hell and constantly monitoring the audience's reaction, which was very positive. It was exciting. It's always fun to see something you've created with an audience present. It changes the way you look at your own film. As if you're watching it for the very first time. I believe that once you show a film to an audience, that film is no longer your own.

When the film ended and the credits began to roll, the audience applauded for all of the film's talent. I was overwhelmed by what appeared to be a very positive response. Jeff and I returned to the stage following screening to thank everyone for coming. The audience applauded and I almost burst into tears. I felt that this night was big. Not so much for Jeff or myself, but for individuals with paralysis. The screening was a celebration of adaptive sports. A celebration of independence and recognition for those with disabilies.





Jeff and I were extremely happy with the overall outcome.

So... what now?

Now we finish color correcting the project for DVD and online viewing. The color correction should be finished by Mid-February. Ideally, we'd like to have the DVDs ready by the first of March.

So there's the update. I'll try to keep regular updates as we near completion.

Until then... I want to thank everyone for making our premier a success. It took a lot of work and I'm indeed grateful.