I’ve been thinking about payment structures for motion pictures recently – trying to come up with a structure that works well for (relatively) cheap-ass productions, brings certainty to direct investors, doesn’t screw over your cast and crew.

The thing I ended up like is partial deferments – this basically shakes down to your direct investors kicking in money for the project, you shoot the thing while paying your cast and crew a reasonable fixed sum per day but with a deferment of an additional fixed amount (rather than points).

So after the movie is made and sold (or if you don’t sell it, but do a deal with a distributor yourself) the payment schedule would be: First and foremost, the investors get back 100% of their investment. Then deferments get paid. Then any profits from then on get split between the producers and investors according to whatever profit-sharing deal has been worked out.

I like this because I don’t think that one should be asking professional cast and crew to work for free. This gives those people payment straight up, and you’re also saying “Though deferred, I believe that your work brings value to the project, and I’m willing to pay accordingly.”

I was quite keen on the idea of giving points of the profits, until I realised that this would cause basically infinite paperwork – every time ANY money was made from the movie, it’d have to be split up and shared. You’d be chasing cast and crew for EVER. So I’ve gone off that idea.

Jesus and Whatnot

Got into a .. discussion on irc today. It went much like this:

Friend: Dude, I read your journal, hahaha, where you said that religious people were crazy, hahahaha, I’d be offended if I thought you were serious.

JSR: I was serious.

Friend: hahahha lollerskates

JSR: No, really.

Friend: 😦

…and it kinda went downhill from there. In fact, it got into one of those “atheism is as much a belief system as theism so you’re just like us” things. More craziness, basically. I’m not like you. Science makes sense. And actually delivers.

I must admit, I do feel kinda bad for my crazy religious friends when I say stuff like this, but I gotta call it as I see it. I presumed for a while that Hamymonkey at least wasn’t talking to me because of my take on things, but she commented on my birthday so there’s that xtian forgiveness at least. 🙂

I felt I should at least post a fairly definitive outline of my philosophical standpoints on deistic ontology before I chuck it all in and go back to vastly more important stuff like How Well Annette And I Are Levelling Our WoW Druids, The Kids These Days, and Bacon.

First of all, please, enough of this “Atheism is just like, the flip side of the coin from theism, dude, you’re not so great.” or “Huh, like, science is just a belief system, same as The Baby Jesus, so like, nya” or “HURF DURF HURRICANE ONLY KILLED TWO OF MAH KIDS, T’OTHER FIVE LIVED PRAISE JEEEEEESUS MLAH FLAH”… wait, I’m getting nasty again, must stop that. Anyway. Enough of that. It’s a bollocks argument. Don’t make it. You’re just embarassing yourself.

Atheism, if nothing else, recognises that there are two routes down which humans can go to increase their knowledge of the universe.

The FIRST is through faith and religion. By definition, religions have at their core miracles or unsolvable mysteries that simply cannot be understood or proven by rational, scientific means. If you believe in Jesus of Nazareth as your lord and saviour then you believe in the sacfifice of Christ and his resurrection. You don’t believe in these things because they’ve been carefully documented in Roman recods, it’s possible within our current understanding of physical and biological laws, there’s loads of evidence, it’s experimentally repeatable, etc. No, indeed, you BELIEVE in this stuff with FAITH. And faith by definition exists outside of reason and the scientific method. This is why I stopped arguing with religious people at every turn. You can’t convince them with rational arguments. Their entire belief structure when it comes to God exists outside of rationality.

The SECOND is through reason. Reason is based not on faith, but on data which is accumulated and which can be verified. Rational beliefs are deductive or inductive mental analysis on gathered data. The really important bit (and this is key to that whole “scientific method” thing, also) is that any rational person is open to having their beliefs falsified in the face of convincing arguments or information. Any “belief” is able to be altered or cast aside.

So, in the face of this, please don’t fucking well call atheism “a belief system”, kthx? Atheists don’t believe in Jehova, Father Xmas, Zeus, the FSM, Xenu, the Tooth Fairy, or Mighty Thor because there’s simply not enough proof that they exist.

I’ll never convince a crazy person that God doesn’t watch them masturbate, or that they’re not really Napoleon, or whatever other faith-based unprovable thing they think is true, is not true. And they’ll never convince me that I’m going straight to hell unlesss I _just accept Jesus into my heart without pointing out all the stupid contradictory or downright assholey things in the bible_.

Faith vs Reason. Not two sides of the same coin, but totally different cognitive systems, and totally incompatible with each other.

“He’s From Saudi Arabia”

“Police put an undercover agent in a cell with Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui and asked him “Where is Osama bin Laden?”, a just-released Police Complaints Authority decision reveals.

The agent was to “gather intelligence” with questions such as “Do you like Bin Laden?” and “Where is Osama bin Laden?”

Manning said Zaoui realised the man was an undercover agent. “He was only let out of his cell into the day room a few times and this guy was always there asking bizarre questions.”

This is totally awesome. I hope there’s video tapes of this.

Of course, this is the true gem:

The agent could speak only English – which Zaoui could barely understand – so communicated some questions with charades.

Sweet angels of mercy. Now it’s WAY beyond awesome, and it’s become an episode of “Fawlty Towers” with Basil Fawlty as the intelligence gathering agent, and Manuel as Zaoui.

“Well met, fellow prisoner of the Infidel! All praise to Allah and his prophet! Truly, the Great Satan America shall fall before the might of Islam and the Mujahideen of Al Queda, as led by the mighty Osama Bin Laden. Speaking of Osama, do you happen to know precisely where he’s located at this time?”


God Is Hardcore

In a comment to a previous posting, pepperbeast said:

If I were a bible-believing sort of a person, I’d probably mention that God makes the sun rise on the good and the evil, and the rain fall on the just and the unjust.

[I was going to reply to this in the comments thread, but it turned lengthy and is interesting, so I’ll make it into a new post.]

Actually, if you were a bible-believing person, you’d be aware of the myriad examples of God punishing the wicked/rewarding the righteous that appear in both the old and new testaments.

So you’d pretty much have to mention that God appears to mostly make the sun rise on the good and the evil, and pretty much make the rain fall on the just and the unjust, but he also at various points in the good book: Kills everyone on the planet except for one family, destroys an entire city for being wicked, kills Onan for sleeping with his brothers wife (or for sleeping with his brothers wife and trying not to get her pregnant – I’m not sure of His motives on that one), sends plagues and devastation upon Egypt, sends a plague against the Israelites who ate flesh, turns Miiriam into a leper for a week, causes the Earth to open up and swallow various men (and their wives and children) because the men were rebellious, kills 250 men by fire, kills another 14,700 men by plague, kills many Israelites by Flying Serpents (!), kills another 24,000 by plague, afflicts the Philistines with tumors in their “secret parts” for stealing the Ark of the Covenant, kills 70 men for looking inside the Ark, kills another 70,000 men dead in Israel via Pestilence, kills 50 men by “Fire from Heaven”, blinds various Syrians, and kills 185,000 men via “An Angel of the Lord”.

And that’s just the stuff that the Bible attributes directly to God – I’m leaving out the stuff where God tells Joshua and Judah and various Israelites and other miscellanious people to go smite people in His name.

I don’t think one can realistically claim to believe in the words of the bible and take a “God does not interfere” stance.

Accio Failure!

“Wizardry book in school library upsets some parents”

I thought this was going to be a Harry Potter bitchfest, but it wasn’t.

Wizardology: The Book of the Secrets of Merlin, was checked out of West Haven’s Molloy Elementary School library by Cary Alonzo’s eight-year-old daughter. “Well, it has pentagrams in here. It has how to cast spells with actual spells to say and recite,” said Alonzo. The book even has a few tarot cards … “At this level, they’re young, they’re very impressionable,” said Alonzo.

The book, of course, is a bit of fluff about magic, played straight – much like The Flight of Dragons, for example.

I’m not sure what this woman is complaining about. Is she pissed that her daughter tried the spells and they didn’t work? What was she expecting?

“My daughter drew the sigils as described, and yet no creatures from beyond brought her a live pony and a pretty princess dress. I was going to ask for a Dale Ernhardt Collectable Plate of my own, when she was done.”

I guess that’s not likely. So is she mad because her daughter cast the spells and they did work?

“There’s a pony in the upstairs bedroom and there’s no way to get it down without breaking through a wall, but I guess that’s OK becuase all the drywall is bleeding black satanic ichor anyway, and have you tried getting brimstone smell out of carpets?”

I guess that’s even less likely.

I couldn’t possibly comment

On the opposite end of the scale that had Anna Nicole Smith at one end, was the actor Ian Richardson. That statement is true no matter what the scale was measuring – acting ability, class, style, breast size .. anything you like.

Ian Richardson played the spectacularly awesome Sir Francis Urquhart in “House of Cards”, “To Play the King” and “The Final Cut”.

He was found dead today in his London home.

If you’ve never seen these three miniseries, I HIGHLY recommend that you do so as soon as possible.