14-05-09 Post-Production

It’s been a very tumultuous week. I mean, gnarly.

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    I officially ran out of money for anything related to ALGORITHM. That meant I had to talk with Neil, who is very good at his job, and tell him I couldn’t pay him anymore. It also means I can’t print business cards, shirts, or posters until money starts coming in, which won’t be happening until August 1, 2014, when we release ALGORITHM in digital formats.

    So, more on Neil. He’s good at what he does. The problem was, he was kind of crippled by the nature of this project. It’s hard to generate publicity when there isn’t anything to give people to publicize. I have an awesome trailer that’s cut, but I can’t post it until I have music, which I won’t have until Stu Kennedy delivers it. I only know that will happen sometime before July.

    As much as I want to rush Stu, the quality he’s been delivering is so far beyond my expectations that I want him to take all the time he needs to make it as good as he possibly can. One of the things he did on the third track is add cello. I don’t think I’ve mentioned anything about Zoe Keating to him, so I find that ironic. I told my wife, “Maybe something about ALGORITHM just requires cello.” So, Stu gets the time he needs, and the rest of the project has to wait for that.

    I don’t have the material Neil needs, which is just as well since I can’t pay him what he needs to cover his rent anyway. So, I went to Neil’s home and let him know what was going on. And, serendipity. He found a part-time job that should cover his expenses.

    I have most of the art I need. ALGORITHM is almost completely edited. There’s one screen that still needs to be replaced, but I can’t replace it until I get some feedback from Kevin, one of my technical specialists. Unfortunately, Kevin just had some surgery, so he’s in severe recovery pain, which makes him totally unavailable to me until he recovers.

    This leaves me with nothing to do. Nothing… but read. I’m on forced vacation. It’s nice. I didn’t know just how exhausted I was until I started getting enough rest. And I’ve embraced it. I hardly watch movies or TV, because I can’t do that without analyzing it and learning. AKA, work.

    I’ve returned to my first escapist love, which is reading. I started out writing. As I’m returning to reading, I find my heart reveling in the idea of living the life of a writer instead of the intensity of a writer/director/editor/promoter/producer/etc.

    I think I’ve learned something this week. I think I’ve proven to myself that, should I need to, there’s only one aspect of filmmaking I can’t do well enough to suit my standards. I can’t act. Everything else I can do.

    Simply because I can do it doesn’t mean I should. The fact is, doing all those things is exhausting beyond what is healthy. Some directors find themselves in a hospital bed when they’re done with a project. I didn’t understand that until now. Now, I know why. Now I understand that there’s a place for an editor and a publicist, etc. It’s not that I can’t do it as well as they can. I can. It’s that I simply don’t have the stamina to do it all without completely frying at the end.

    Right now, I don’t feel like watching TV, watching anything on Netflix, or Blu-ray. I don’t feel like going to the movies or even talking about them. I don’t feel like listening to the industry podcasts or browsing industry Twitter streams. I want to unplug. I’m burnt out… to the point where I’m considering other vocations, because they’re easier.

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    And then Monday came. I was exhausted. (I’ve used that word at least 3 times so far in this entry. I see a pattern forming.) I planned on sleeping in and I needed it. But, at 8:00am, I got a Skype message from Stu, letting me know my website had been hacked.

    Stu, before he was a composer, was a mathematician and a computer geek. That’s how he makes his living and supports his family. This composer thing? It’s new, sort of a hobby. He’s easily good enough at it to do it full-time, should he continue. I know he’ll have all the recommendations he wants from me.

    He found the hack, and helped me diagnose how deep the hackers had gotten. Want to know how deep they got? Root access. That means total control. The only greater access they could have had was physical access, which means they’re actually, physically in front of the server. They owned it.

    The only thing I could do was wipe it clean and start from scratch. I don’t have the energy to rebuild www.spiritusvult.com right now. Like I said, exhausted. So, I redirected all the sites to point to www.thehackermovie.com, which they’re now doing.

    I was annoyed at the hack. It wasn’t something important, since I was thinking of redesigning SV from scratch anyway. But, I wanted to know how they got it. My passwords are good. My passwords are very good. They’re long and complex, and impossible to guess. And, I’ve got a technique that allows me to create different passwords for every single place I have a password, and still they remain easy to remember.

    So, it wasn’t through me.

    A friend of mine… I’m not sure I want to use that word friend… she’s an acquaintance. She’s a model. I helped her with her Wordpress site and I hosted it for her. She asked that I delete her install so she could redesign it from scratch (note the irony later). So I blasted her install and reinstalled Wordpress. I sent her the login email so she could create a password. 

    Two weeks later!

    She hadn’t bothered to log in and change the default password. I told her it was important. Still, nothing.

    The hackers used a bot, a computer programmed to contact every single server on the Internet, ask if it’s got a Wordpress install, and then try the default admin password. It was just a matter of time before they found her neglect.

    My response is to never host anything for her on any of my servers, ever again. I’m not angry with her. She’s kind of flaky anyway. I should have seen it coming.

    My wife wants to yell at her. I told my wife that there’s no point at getting angry about it. The model is not going to change and the anger only hurts the person who feels it.

    So, no money, no employees, no forward motion, no production company website. Tumultuous.

    And, I’m really enjoying my vacation.