Sunday, November 29, 2009

Shooting Another Music Video

I did it again; I missed the third post I was supposed to make this past week but didn't. Living at my grandma's place most nights out of the week has put me in a tough spot for internet access since she doesn't use computers. However, this weekend I crewed on another music video doing G&E work again. This one was more challenging than Prince Royce and I don't think I did as good a job as could have been done, but I think I did the best I could with the resources I had. We were shooting a vid for an R&B artist named Jesse Boykins iii

Will post the music vid when its done. Aside from that, not much going on, hopefully I'll post something creative up here soon.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stand By Me

Over the weekend (actually, starting on Friday) I PA-d on a music video for the classic song "Stand By Me" performed by a Hispanic R&B Artist named Prince Royce. This music video was directed by a guy named Danny Hastings and produced by an NYU alum named Andrea Wong (whom I had met earlier through Nyle when I was following him around) and their (Danny's) production company called Atomicus Films. This was a great experience for several reasons, some being:

1.) I was pa-ing with an acquaintance and now friend named Jackie Soller (we took Advanced Production Sound together and both got this job through our mutual friend Anthony (Ant) Jones.

2.) I was able to wow people on set with my G&E skills.

By the end of the first day Danny said "I like this kid, I wan him on all my sets," by the end of the second day he had said it several more times. If you couldn't guess already I had essentially been upgraded from PA to Gaffer and lit the shit out of the stuff we had shot in the studio he second day using 4 Kino's and 2 babies. The first day was all exteriors with no lighting except for the second half where we shot outside and used two battery powered LED panels on essentially c-stand bodies (minus the legs) that we boomed in Strawberry Fields, Central Park.

I was on a production high from that music video, essentially since everyone was so eager, rather talented and a lot of fun/easy to kick it with. I know that I would work with any of them again in a heartbeat, that's a feeling I got from Hayden 5 Media too.

BTW, check out Prince Royce: this is his website, I think he's pretty good and when the music video comes out I'll post it here.

How I started working 17 hour days

Ahh!! The streak of at least 3 posts a week has been broken! Shame!!

First and foremost, my apologies to anyone actually bothering to read this blog for my scarcity in posting, I've been unusually busy recently and this busyness looks like it will be continuing for an indefinite amount of time. Additionally, for the past five days or so I have been staying at my grandma's house, which has left me internet less and effectively stranded from the going on-s of the normal world, but enough of that, my post below.

"Did you eat dinner yet," she asked over the phone. "Yes," I replied over the phone. I had straight out lied because I knew that if she knew the truth she would yell at me and I didn't have the energy for that. It was 9 PM Tuesday night and the truth was that I hadn't eaten anything sustainable since 10:00 that morning, when my grandma sat me down and made me eat breakfast before rushing off to my internship at PBS. Now, I was standing in front of several racks of tape decks, the number of which was an impressive one, but not as impressive as the Dubs facility in PBS, and I'd imagine pretty standard for a post house specializing in duplication and the like.

I had begun freelancing as a junior editor for USA Studios Monday evening. USA Studios was the afore mentioned post house and the reason I had cut my hair two weeks prior (I had an interview with them) and I was now working the graveyard shift qc-ing (quality controlling) masters sent to us and the dubs made of them. The work wasn't very exciting or an area where I imagined I'd make many valuable connections, but work was work and no matter how much I loved interning for American Masters, I wasn't getting paid. So, when this opportunity came up I jumped on it, even though I had just come off a half day (7 hour) shoot that I had gotten up at 5 AM for, although more on that shoot later. I arrived for my first day at USA Studios at 4pm and left at 11:30pm, being dismissed by the head of production, Roger, but I was asked to return the next day, which I did, this time starting at 6pm and finishing at 5am.

I began my day at 6pm because I figured out that I could leave PBS at 5:00 and make it across town to USA Studios in half an hour, which would give me enough time to grab something quick for dinner. However, as usually occurs on days I need to get somewhere, I worked up until 5:30pm, wrecking any chances of getting food and being on time. I decided that it was best not to be late on my second day, so food was passed up for work.

Finally, I had gotten off work at 5:30 am, when the guy in charge of the overnight hours wanted to go home and kicked myself and my friend Sania, who's been working with the place for the past 2 or 3 months, out so he could lock up. I hadn't taken a lunch break the entire time because I'm terrible at telling myself to eat so when I got out I was pretty hungry, but then I ran into the dilemma of 1) finding food and 2) taking the hour long trek back to my grandma's place to get some sleep so I could get up the next day to go to PBS again, even though I was told not to come in b/c it was the day before Thanks Giving. Again, I passed on food and headed back and went to sleep but missed out on PBS, so not eating was kind of pointless.

However, I've figured out that I can work 14 hour days and still get enough sleep, so I'm staying at PBS while I work for USA Studios.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mysteriously Sleepless Night

Tuesday night I had a terrible night entirely due to the fact that it was entirely sleepless. The puzzling thing is that there doesn't seem to be a cause for the inability to sleep that night, it just happened.

Of course, staying up late and running on no sleep really messes with your brain. For starters your judgment easily becomes impaired and even worse, your mood shifts easily to negative because the impaired judgment makes all your problems seem a lot worse and overwhelming. There's a scientific explanation for this, as was explained by a friend, I just don't remember all the details so I'm not going to bother trying to explain it.

What I will explain, however, is what came out of that night. Plagued with sleeplessness, despite my exhaustion and the fact that I was lying in bed trying to sleep, I finally gave up and got onto my computer and began to write. Somehow, a short screenplay has begun to become birthed from my horrendous night, which is probably a good thing since I haven't written anything in ages, so more on that screenplay upon completion.

I actually realized that this post would be a lot more interesting if I actually posted what I was struggling with (aside from my body's stubborn inability to fall asleep) but I'm not going to go on a long diatribe ranting and raving about all my problems, especially since I'd rather not think about a good amount of them since there is not cure for those diseases except to acknowledge and move on, an action I thought was taken a while ago but apparently ghosts like to linger... that's all you get, and no, I don't want to hear your guesses as to what I'm talking about.

Moving away from that, though, I went into PBS on 3 hours of sleep, finally managing to fall asleep at 6:30, 7:00, (as my parents were getting up to go to work) and waking up at 9:00 and doing my "wake up, get ready to leave and go to sleep for an hour because I have that much time before I have to leave" bit and finally leaving my house at 10 (I went in an hour later, no one noticed or even really cared because there's not much going on right now).

I expected to have a terrible day, but I didn't because there wasn't really anything to do and everyone at PBS is nice and they have brains so it's hard to have a bad day here, but ghosts from the night I had just gone through still lingered about so after work I called up a friend, got some ice cream and let the ice cream and etc do its job. Suddenly the world is better, although I hope that I can still finish that short script... I'll be sure to.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Somehow on Sunday night I had managed to keep myself too distracted to go to sleep. In fact, by the time I actually got myself to crawl into bed it was 6:00 and my dad was getting up. I had planned to go into the city and do some work, maybe meet up with some people as well, but that just didn't happen because I woke up at 1:30 and figured that it would be a waste of time and $10 since I'd have to be back home around 5 or 6 anyway so I spent the entire day until my parents got home in my room staring at my computer, although I managed to watch an old John Wayne western "B" movie called "Stolen Goods," it was rather hilarious because it was just so campy.

Aside from that movie I also watched Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Western called "Once Upon A Time in the West," which was rather entertaining, especially since I had seen the opening about 5 times throughout my time in film school but never saw the entire film. Charles Bronson was actually pretty bad ass in that film... unlike in Death Wish 2 and 3 where he's just... shooting things, which I guess in its own right is kind of bad ass. However, I'm getting off the point.

I haven't been writing or researching or doing much of anything that I should be doing and its driving me crazy because I'm frustrated at my laziness but at the same time I'm too lazy to do anything about it. Some catch-22 I got myself into, huh? I have, however, been drawing on occasion, so once I get myself to scan some stuff in I'll post them, I promise.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


"Why are you so awkward?" My friend Jessica asked me as I half mumbled "We're good" while sheepishly turning away from the sales associate at Men's Wearhouse. I had tagged along on a shopping/hunting trip to help Jessica's friend Kitty or Katy (I can't seem to remember perfectly what her name was) help her friend John find acceptable attire to wear for a wedding. Currently we were searching for a vest, which the rest of the day would provide no form of success for that specific item, though we did managed to find the shirt, tie and pants he would wear otherwise. I also learned throughout the day that I am not very knowledgeable about the art of buying clothes and clothing in general, but that's aside from the point and not an area I care that much to improve upon anyway.

Back to my original point, and while the question of "Why are you so awkward?" may have been pertaining only to that particular moment, it was still a question that more or less defined the entire day, as I stumbled and bumped into various things both on the streets of Manhattan and in the various department stores we visited. However, "why are you so awkward?" doesn't really just headline an off day in the life of Matthew Chao. No, although it becomes a much more apparent trait of mine on such days, "awkward" is really an element that defines a large portion of my character.

Throughout my many attempts to cover up my awkward, spastic behavior, which works with most first impressions but never over a long period of time, I have come to realize something. If ever I care to get to know someone well, in any capacity, they will have to come to understand and accept that I am an awkward person. This awkwardness does not make me any less capable in what I do, nor does it make me any more difficult to me around than I already may be. This is a trait that is just part of me, like someone that pronounces certain words differently or bites their nails. Ultimately it is something that should be embraced by the one who possesses it and overlooked by others. So in short, I am so awkward because I am an awkward person, although, that should have become readily apparent after the second time anyone has hung out with me. (Or if you've ever talked with me over the phone.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Misc. Update

A movie I wish was made instead of Twilight:

Additionally, I got my diploma in the mail today... whoop-di-doo.

Lastly, I also had a Mandarin Fail of sorts today, but... more on that some other time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Today, as I walked into the lobby of the building PBS Channel 13 is in, I was immediately surrounded by 3 little girls in green uniforms with badges on them (in case you can't figure it out, they were girl scouts) and they immediately mobbed me to get me to buy some cookies.

I decided to get a box of Samoas, my favorite kind of Girl Scout Cookies (I like thin mints, but not as much as everyone else, I just think they're o.k.) and bought one at the giant table covered in cookies. The box is now more than 1/3 done and that just about encompasses all the excitement my day has had.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthdays Pt. 2

Before I forget! Happy 40th Birthday to Sesame Street! (Below is the google gadget commemorating their 40th anniversary)

Below are some clips of great moments from Sesame Street:

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Craziest Acid Trip I Never Had

Across The Universe is perhaps the tripiest film I have ever seen (yes, even more so than the drunken elephant bubble scene in Dumbo).

This musical tale of war, protest and, of course, love follows Jude, a young man from Liverpool who comes to the U.S.A. to track down his father, a janitor at Princeton University. From there he meets up with Max, a delinquent Ivy League brat who loves to piss off just about anyone he can. Through Max, Jude meets Max's sister Lucy and it is this couple that our story follows.

When Across the Universe finally came out in 2007, myself and quite a few friends were eager to see it because for a few days it had taken over the street in front of our dorm on 5th Ave. Freshmen year. Additionally, its release had been pushed back several times and we kept seeing previews for it and wondering when it was going to be released.

I personally know some people who went to see it when it came out and I heard some mixed reviews; finally I got around to seeing the film, and as stated earlier, its tripy. The music is enjoyable (I mean, it's the Beatles, how can it not be?) and the cinematography is amazing too (and not just in the obvious parts like in the bowling alley), although some choices didn't quite work for me, but eh, not a big deal.

Story wise I'd say this film is so-so. It more or less delivered on what it was trying to say, it just took a rather long route in doing so, spanning over 2 hours, it could have been cut down in a few areas. Overall though, not a bad story, just try not to forget about it during the extreme tripy moments of the film (and there are quite a few).

I personally enjoy choreographed musicals so it was kinda fun for me to watch, if that's not what you enjoy, avoid. My recommendation, if you have 2 hours to spare, it wouldn't hurt to check out the film.

Off To Festivals We Go Pt. 2

I just submitted my previously mentioned documentary HAM to another festival called Full Frame. For those of you who don't know what Full Frame is, and are too lazy to click on the conveniently placed hyperlink to find out, Full Frame is a documentary festival held every year in Durham North Carolina. This is a very prestigious and well known (amongst the docu community) film festival and I can only hope I can make it in, as, I guess, is the case with the other film festivals I submit to.

On an entirely different note, some time last week, as mentioned in this past blog post, my friends at Hayden 5 Media finished that Doritos spot and it looks pretty good. Check it out:

So go Richard Gianotti and the rest of Hayden 5 Media. Congrats!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cut Hair

For the first time in 5 months I cut my hair. It's pretty short now, although not as short as it used to be when I was in high school and etc, but yea, nowhere near as long as it was... I guess 2 hours ago? Which seems pretty obvious because hair cuts generally do that. (Make your hair shorter.)

At any rate, I have no pictures, nor will I probably be taking any in the near future, reasons for cutting my hair will be divulged... maybe in a week or so? I don't want to jinx any chances... not that I really believe in that stuff anyway... At any rate, I do still plan on growing my hair out so I can cut it and either donate it (or sell it, depending on how desperate I am at the time) but that plan is taking a 2 and a half to 3 month detour.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Birthdays

Today Nick Park's Wallace and Grommit turns 20, which is shown on Google's Google Doodle

So, as a tribute to Wallace and Grommit (as well as Nick Park) here's the youtube interview posted on the Wallace and Grommit Birthday Website

Additionally, here in America the google doodle shows big bird's legs because Sesame Street is turning 40, however, they don't really turn 40 until the 10th, so this post isn't about them.

Despite that, below are the google doodles from the version abroad as well as here.

Wallace and Grommit:

Sesame Street:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More Crazy-Hour Shooting

On Monday I got up at 8 to return the wireless lavs to Gotham Sound. (As a side note, if you ever need audio gear, hit these guys up, they're the best sound rental house in New York City and they sell a lot of equipment at good prices as well.) Afterward, as stated in my previous post, I sent my film to Tribeca (which was received today) and then spent the rest of the day doing miscellaneous chores.

By 7:00PM I was checked into an edit suite on the 10th floor of Tisch and passed out either in the chairs or on the floor of the suite, mainly because I didn't feel comfortable passing out on the couch on the 8th floor like I used to do, but that's a different story. 9:00 rolled around and I got up and made my way over to Astoria where I would spend the remainder of the night until 7:00 in the morning shooting a 30 second spot for the Doritos Superbowl Competition for my good friend and line producer on Nyle Emerson's F.A.N.G music video, Richard Gianotti, as well as the rest of the Hayden 5 Media crew (Todd Wiseman and Milos Silber). Afterward I went with and helped out with returns and unloading until 10:30-ish and then went to my internship where I did research and fought the urge to pass out in front of my computer; it was a loosing battle.

On the up side I learned that my dear friend Ashna has finally quit smoking, today is her first day so anyone that knows her, please give her all the support you can to make this transition as easy a transition as possible for her.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Off To Festivals We Go

I just sent my aforementioned short documentary Ham to Tribeca via fedex. More on that later I guess. Probably more later as well as the day continues, I have my footage from the Nyle documentary with me as I sit in Tisch so maybe I can get around to looking at that soon. I'm hopeful.

In other news, Halloween was interesting (I told everyone that I was going as an unemployed college graduate, which isn't really a costume since its true, as LeeLoo from the Fifth Element pointed out after Nyle's (who was dressed as Bishop from X-Men) performance at the Bowery Poetry Club. I had planned on elaborating if people didn't find my excuse for a costume (or lack there of) scary enough, it went somewhere along the lines of "we come in hordes, like zombies, but instead of eating your brains and flesh we go for your retirement savings," I never got around to saying that line but I wish I did. Additionally, I learned that 1.) taxis are hard to get on Halloween Night and 2.) Taxis don't take people that are passed out (we walked by someone on the street and tried to help, eventually we convinced her friends/cousin to let us just call 911 and left once the cops arrived to take care of them.