Fantasy Star Begins

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

For the Twelve Days of Christmas, I give to you my 12-part analysis of Final Fantasy XII’s similarity to the Star Wars franchise. There will be a post everyday on The Bloggles Do Nothing from December 25-January 5. It took me a while to compile, so I hope you enjoy it.

New Stuff Coming Soon...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Posted by Batalla at 12:52 AM 0 comments  

Assessing Creed

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Bloggles Do Nothing is still alive. Check out my thoughts on the whole Jade Raymond comic fiasco.

A Weekend of Covers, Tributes and Family Values

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Last Friday, my brother convinced me to go outside of the oven that is our house. He wanted to go watch a Guns N' Roses tribute band at a nearby club called Paladino's. He was the one that got me hooked on the band at the young age of eight so of course I went with him.

On the way there, he asks if I'm doing anything Sunday night. It was a long weekend, which meant I'd be trying to catch up on sleep. Half knowing the answer, he hands me a pair of tickets for the 2007 Family Values Tour. It was for the last stop at the Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine. Life IS peachy. I haven't followed Korn since I was teenager but I sure as hell wasn't going to turn down a chance to see them live.

When we arrived at Paladino's, I found out the place specialized at hosting tribute bands. They also showcase local talent and at times get surprise visits from bands like the Foo Fighters. The first group we saw onstage had a forgettable performance set except for their gimmick of two girls doing a pole dance routine. One of the girls in particular grabbed my attention. It had less to do with her stripping and shaking than the fact that she looked exactly like one of old co-workers from the Daily Nexus. I probably enjoyed it more than I should have.

Next up was Chinese Democracy, the GnR tribute band. I haven't seen many tribute bands live and a glimpse at the burly lead singer made me question how good their performance would be. My doubts went away the moment I heard the opening of "Welcome to the Jungle." What tribute bands lack in originality, they more than make up for with passion and commitment to the source material. Each band member easily matched the songs note for note. I loved how most of the set was from "Appetite for Destruction." It brought a lot of memories back. We didn't stay to watch the Kiss tribute band, but from their costumes I imagine they were pretty faithful to the songs as well.

So flash forward to Sunday night. We arrived at the Verizon Amphitheater at around sunset. We didn't get a chance to see Atreyu or Flyleaf but we were just in time for Evanescence. Aside from their singles, I'm not too into Evanescence. But watching Amy Lee head bang onstage made me realize that she's one of the few high profile female personalities left in the rock world. I can't even remember the last time bands like No Doubt, Garbage, Hole or the Distillers were still on the scene. Anyways, Amy did a rendition of "People are Strange" with piano, continuing the streak of cover performances I experienced that weekend.

Next up, was Korn. We were up in the lawn section of the amphitheater but that didn't diminish the enthusiasm of crowd. Bonfires erupted at four different locations on the lawn. Security initially kept trying to put them out but they would go up again the moment they left. The staff either ran out of fire retardant foam or realized no one was in any real danger and gave up on the fires. One fire got particularly large that Jonathan Davis noticed and asked, "who's roasting marshmallows over there?"

The band looked great. Jonathan seemed a bit slimmer in his kilt, Fieldy had his braids going and Munky looked like Jack Sparrow with his dreadlocks and eye makeup. David was still on hiatus and Head obviously wasn't there. Jonathan told the crowd that the night's set would be dedicated to all the OG Korn fans. Most of the songs were from their first three albums. Like all the other bands I saw that weekend, Korn did a cover as well. Their's was "Another Brick in the Wall." They closed with "Blind" and it worked out nicely since the song ended as the Moon was rising over the mountain range behind the stage. Great finish to a consistently high energy set. The only complaint I had, along with many in the crowd, was that they didn't perform "Got the Life." It wasn't a big deal since it's one of their overplayed songs. I could always watch it on Youtube. Just being out to see live bands made it an awesome long weekend. Now if I can only get tickets to KROQ's L.A. Invasion.

Solid Snape

Monday, July 23, 2007

In honor of the Harry Potter series wrapping up, here are a couple of my Snape shirt designs.

Posted by Batalla at 7:28 PM 0 comments  

New Comics Starting This Week

Monday, July 02, 2007

Just had a dose of inspiration. Check back after the fourth.

Posted by Batalla at 7:18 PM 0 comments  

Simpsons Style Self Portrait

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fiddling around a bit with the Simpsons character creator. Give it a shot and see what other characters you can make.

Posted by Batalla at 5:37 PM 1 comments  

Side Project

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Although I'm no longer getting paid to write an opinion column, I feel it's still necessary that I don't give up the practice. I point you towards The Bloggles Do Nothing! This blog will remain as a type of online portfolio while the Bloggles will be geared towards reporting and opining on geek-related news. I also plan on expanding Bloggles to other contributors willing to add their own commentary on such subject matter.

Posted by Batalla at 11:44 PM 0 comments  

Titan Sting Fast Trailer

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Here's a trailer for "The Titan Sting." To date it's still one of the best projects I've had the opportunity of working on. Hopefully, the DVDs will be finished soon. It's a film that begs for repeated viewing.

Posted by Batalla at 8:59 PM 0 comments  

Between Meme and You

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I figure this little meme should suffice while I'm in a drought of new material to post. Plus, it's a chance to share a bit about myself.

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Here are my random eight:

1. I always pop down all the buttons on the surface of fountain drink covers.
2. When I was a kid, one of my cousins pushed me off a coffee table and I dislocated my right arm. It didn't get set properly so the range of motion is ever so slightly different than my left arm.
3. Seeing all the earthworms on the ground after it rains creeps me out.
4. My seventh grade photo day was the same day my dog gave birth to six puppies.
5. I still don't own a portable digital music player.
6. I understand tagalog but don't really speak it anymore, so I imagine that a person observing me talk to one my relatives is reminded of the way Han and Chewbacca communicate with each other.
7. I sleep in the same clothes I wear throughout the day.
8. I can make burping noises just by moving my tongue.

I guess I'll bring Simon, J, Molly, and Adriana into this.

Posted by Batalla at 10:01 AM 0 comments  

Daily Nexus Staff Portraits

Thursday, June 07, 2007

It's been a tradition at the Daily Nexus for one of the artists to draw the staff. With so many people working at the Nexus at any given time, the list is usually whittled down to the two dozen or so editors found in the staff box. Even with the relatively smaller amount of people to draw, it's still pretty tough to compose a drawing like that. Then it's time to pick a theme. This year's is Kingdom Hearts while last year's was X-Men. Then a little research has to be done in order to come up with cartoon versions of the staff. Add in the time and effort it takes to draw, ink, scan, and touch up the piece, and you've got yourself a good week's worth of work at minimum. As draining as the entire process can be, the reactions are always worth it. Especially after seeing the drawing end up on shirt that the staff and I can wear.

Posted by Batalla at 11:18 PM 1 comments  

Final Daily Nexus Art

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

After four years, it's finally time that I take leave of the Daily Nexus. As much as I want to move on to other prospects, I can't ignore the amount of time I've put into that job. It'll probably take a couple weeks before I get used to drawing under different conditions. I'm just glad that I'll be leaving the art desk in good hands.

The Mark Side of UCSB: Campus World Filled with Prospects

Monday, June 04, 2007

I signed up to be a columnist this year on a whim. My primary job has always been to illustrate the opinion articles, but I figured I would give writing them shot. With columnist topics about politics, pop culture, fashion, technology, California, marijuana, sex, parties and whatever it is Zach Phillips writes each week, I figured there wasn’t much left for me to cover.

That’s why I was all the more surprised at finding a niche by writing about my perspective on the campus. Looking back at the year I can honestly say I’m pleased with how things have gone with my column. I’ve written about phony activists, over-reactionary “town hall” meetings, exploits in the academic grading system and the inept student government. But I’ve also written on serious issues like crashing campus events, the annual power outages and gaming tournaments that finally get those shut in gamers out of their rooms.

So what exactly have I taken from my experiences? First of all, it’s easy to become jaded about our surroundings. Let me go back to student activists. It isn’t so much the causes they represent or their effectiveness in “raising awareness,” it’s that there are just so many things that we as students need to -or more appropriately should - care about. If it isn’t a hunger strike, it’s a rally from Cheadle Hall to Storke Plaza, or a sit-in at the Pardall tunnel, or a festival in Isla Vista or some dumbass recruiter that steps in the path of a moving skateboard in order to hand out a flyer. I’ve met my fair share of confrontational protesters and spineless schemers. Both are equally irritating in their attempts to convince you that their views are correct and disagreeing makes you a horrible person. This saturation of causes and annoying activists contributes to student apathy. I’ve personally stopped caring because I’ve come across enough activists that complain how the Nexus doesn’t properly acknowledge their “accomplishments.” It’s gotten to a point where I can no longer get any more jaded and instead laugh at these futile attempts to change the world. You know how I can tell your hunger strike isn’t working? The Weatherhuman makes fun of your weight and I can see the validity of that insult.

When it all comes down to it, everybody wants to make a change and be remembered for something. We need to have our existence validated by somehow making a difference. But there lies another problem. What many of us do during our time here won’t have that much of an effect on anyone else. Even if it does, in five years, neither you nor your actions will be remembered. It doesn’t matter if you’re a misguided freshman or a 28-year-old transfer student.

The next thing I learned is that there are just so many things happening in the Santa Barbara area at any given moment. If one were to take into account all the Nexus news reports, opinion articles, sports stories and Artsweek reviews, they still only manage to cover a portion of events that occur every day. Just take a look at the campus calendar at the university’s website and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

It’s this particular lesson that I hope all of you took away from my column. As much as I ragged on about particular topics over the year, UCSB has time and again proven to be one of the most exciting places I have ever lived. Pirate, Professor Brannigan, Kip Fulbeck Smitty and Hookah Mike are just a small sampling of the interesting personalities you’ll find around here. I’ve attended and participated in events like Anacruzapalooza, Reel Loud, the GŸnther concert, Fifty Club and Nexus/A.S. Beerlympics. The best part is that some of the most interesting people and events I’ve come across have happened seemingly at random. The point being that you’d be hard pressed to ever find yourself bored on the couch.

How much time do you dedicate to class, work, activism, sports and leisure? It’s ultimately up to you to make that choice. Just make sure you don’t have any regrets when it’s time to finally leave for the real world. It comes at you faster than you think - and I’ve been here for five years.

Daily Nexus columnist Mark Batalla highly recommends the five-year plan for everyone.

And here's the art from my successor, Simon Estrada:

Easy Rider: Students Vie with Viral Videos

Given the chance and $1,200, would you be able to come up with a two to five minute long viral video that promotes the Harley-Davidson brand and lifestyle to our generation? That’s the challenge that awaited students this quarter when the Film & Media Studies Dept. partnered with Harley-Davidson for the FLMST 118 workshop in viral video-making.

Ten videos were made and each short offers something different for the viewer. “The New Breed” goes for a hip, contemporary espionage feel a la “Alias.” “Kid’s Play” presents endearing puppy love at the playground. “Expedition Harley: Tracking the Beast” deals with a safari hunt for the elusive Harley beast. “Harleys in tha Hood” is mini-documentary on urban hog riders from Los Angeles. However, the most viral among the group are “Invisible Harleys: A Mario Kart Parody,” “Biker Babes” and “Ode to the Money Shot.” These three videos stick out and beg for repeated viewing. Michael Figge and Jess Riegel’s “Invisible Harleys” uses some creative animation techniques in order to replicate the absurd nature of the classic Super Nintendo game. Laura Jean Bransky’s “Biker Babes” defies any means of conventional explanation with its bikini-clad babes, dancing robots and leapfrogging snorkelers. Jordan Harris and Matt Freund’s “Ode” pulls off a one-man show suggestive of recent Eddie Murphy films.

Go to the film & media studies website and vote for your favorite. With your help, one of these films will have a chance of winning $5,000 from Harley-Davidson and possible development as online content for the company.

Posted by Batalla at 7:26 PM 0 comments  

The Mark Side of UCSB: The Reel Loud Fest Requires Real Work

Friday, May 25, 2007

As much as I’ve been raving how great the movie season has been this year, sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the epic sensory overloads many of us have been experiencing at the theaters. UCSB’s 16th Annual Reel Loud Film Festival offers just that breath of fresh air, while at the same time honoring Santa Barbara’s rich film history during the Silent Era. Reel Loud films are shot silently on 16mm and come with an accompanying live act. Yet after four years, being a mere spectator to this unique event wasn’t enough for me.

Still fresh from last quarter’s completion of “The Titan Sting” for Film Studies 106, I felt like branching out and tackling an animated short of my own for Reel Loud. The guidelines were straightforward. No sound, no need to use a technologically complicated camera and no going over the six minute and 30 second time limit. It sounded easy enough, at least to the uninitiated, like myself.

Working on a Reel Loud film felt like a complete U-turn from any of the other productions I’ve been involved with. It wasn’t necessarily the difficulty but rather the alien nature of not knowing what I was doing. Tackling a Reel Loud takes a tremendous amount of initiative and guts. Unlike other film production classes I’ve been in, there was no professor hassling me to get my work done on time. Going the animation route meant I didn’t have to deal as much with casting or camera technique. Instead, it resulted in more work for me since I had to draw most of it.

I often questioned my sanity for even attempting to create a short, let alone with minimal crew. Luckily, I had help from a reliable group of people. My thanks go out to J, Simon, Evan and Dianne. Without them, the stress of production certainly would’ve gotten to me. For two straight weeks, it seemed like my life was nothing but a string of all-nighters. I could almost feel my body shutting down as my eyes strained, my nose bled, my voice gave out and my hand cramped.

Then came the time when I actually had to shoot the film and the realization that I had no idea what I was doing. It was the first time for many things. Up to that point, I didn’t know a single thing about picking out, shooting, processing and editing film. Each step was a nerve-wracking moment of not knowing the end result. It certainly didn’t help that I was alone for most of it, either in the vacuous, after-hours Nexus office or the cramped loft in Buchanan Hall.

On the day of the deadline, I submitted my film for consideration. Over two dozen were submitted, but only about half would be chosen for Reel Loud. The next day, I got the unfortunate news that my film didn’t make the cut. So ended my first attempt at Reel Loud.

Despite the bad news, it hasn’t done anything to deter me from creating more shorts. The experience of working on a Reel Loud has taught me to persevere through production, no matter how unsure or agonizing it is, and to learn from my mistakes. I’ve got even more respect for the films that were able to make it into the festival after experiencing firsthand the journey it takes to get there. For those films that didn’t make it into the festival, there are plans for all of them to be exhibited at a future date by the Film and Videomaker’s Co-op.

I would suggest visiting the Reel Loud website for more information on the event, but most computers I’ve tried to access it on have slowed down to the point of uselessness. The people that designed that gorgeous website need to consider function over flash for next year. Instead, I recommend checking out the Facebook group. Each year’s Reel Loud looks to be better than the year before, so make sure you don’t miss out on this great UCSB tradition.

Daily Nexus columnist Mark Batalla has a reel problem.

The Mark Side of UCSB: Skaters Deserve Rights on Campus

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

There will be town hall meetings next week on Wednesday and Thursday in the UCen’s Harbor Room to discuss a possible skateboarding ban on campus. So what possible crimes against humanity have occurred to influence the Associated Students Commission on Public Safety to even consider banning skateboards on campus?

One of the main complaints against skateboarders on campus is the danger they pose to others on UCSB’s busy walkways. That’s understandable for anyone who has witnessed a collision between a skater and a pedestrian. These accidents do tend to occur more often when more people are around. Despite how forceful these impacts appear, they typically don’t get any worse than scrapes or bruises. They certainly don’t compare to the twisted metal crashes that occur on the bike paths.

The person in any real danger is the skateboarder. Skaters are the ones in an unnatural position several inches off the ground. Any disruption to that equilibrium means trouble for the skater. Even skaters who are not performing dangerous tricks are at risk of getting injured. I was skating around the corner of the Arbor when I saw a fellow skater heading right for me. I immediately stopped and so did she. The two of us had zero momentum for a good second or so. Then she fell over backwards off her board. She should probably stick to walking.

The current regulations on skateboarding are reasonable enough. The university requires that skateboarding be done in permitted areas at a reasonable and safe speed. Skateboarders must yield to pedestrians and motor vehicles. Trick skating is not allowed. It is considered vandalism if done on campus property and comes with a fine.

To be honest, I don’t always follow the university’s rules. Even though it clearly says “no skateboarding” right on the ground of the Arts Building, I do it anyway. But it’s not like I blaze down the hallway at tremendous speed. I barely go faster than a power walker. The only exception is when I see someone jump in my skate path to hand me a flyer for whatever God-awful cause the person represents. Then I get a little sadistic and intentionally ram into that person from behind. I break the rules all the time. I just exercise discretion with each case.

But if you want to talk about reckless rule breaking, take a look at how the running team uses the bike path, or the bikes crisscrossing campus even during those peak times between classes. Skateboarders aren’t the problem. It’s the jerks and morons that aren’t mindful of the people around them. Not everyone can react accordingly to skaters winding their way through a crowd. These same people can be found on inline skates, scooters, Segways and zipping around on those ridiculous Heelys. Why single out skateboarders?

One can’t ignore the merits of skateboards as transportation. Skateboards are cheaper and more portable than bikes. Skateboards can even get to a destination faster since they aren’t limited to a path, able to go most anywhere that can be traversed by foot. Skateboarding is simplicity itself. Just kick, push, kick, push and coast.

It’s interesting to note that in 2005, plans for an Isla Vista skate park finally became reality. The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District gave the green light to the construction of an $800,000 dollar park. So far, funding for the project has been so successful that it’s estimated construction on the park will begin in 2008. Once the park is completed, it’s sure to attract even more skaters to the area. If the district is willing to accommodate skateboarders, then why shouldn’t the university?

I agree that there are legitimate concerns about skateboarding, but there’s no need to place blame on the inanimate object. People should be the focus. More informal panels addressing skateboarding concerns, stricter safety regulations or even assigned pathways are all better alternatives to a complete ban on skateboards. This matter of banning skateboards on campus definitely requires that more thought be put into it because it affects a significant amount of the student population. I encourage people to show up at next week’s town hall meeting to voice their opinion on the issue.

Daily Nexus columnist Mark Batalla can jump two homeless people, maybe three.

Europopular: Günther & the Sunshine Girls Make Mustaches, Mullets, and Manufactured Music Cool Again

Thursday, May 17, 2007

In our brave new digital age, almost anybody can achieve fame through the Internet. Yet, not many performers can rise to international stardom the way Günther has over the past couple of years. With his mullet, mustache and overtly sexual music, I couldn’t help but wonder, was this guy for real? It was that ambiguity that got me hooked. If Günther was a parody of Europop, he was shooting right on target. If he was serious, at least he was outrageous to the point of being awesome. So it was quite the shocker to hear that the Pleasureman would be coming to perform at our very own Storke Plaza. Forget Ozma, Sugarcult, the Moving Units or any of the other performers that have played at the venue. Günther & the Sunshine Girls would be the biggest thing to appear in the plaza since Storke Tower.

The concert-goers were relatively sparse at the start of DJ Rafael’s opening set, but it quickly became filled to the brim with a crowd anxiously chanting for Günther. DJ Rafael was able to momentarily placate the audience by getting everyone to sing alongside a dance mix of Nirvana’s “Lithium.”

As more time passed, some wondered if Günther would be a great live performer - their reservations vanished at the sound of Günther’s sensually deep voice. The crowd went nuts. I ended up a mere 30 feet away from the stage. Each step closer to the Pleasureman came at the cost of air and space, as no one was willing to budge from where they stood. Some took advantage of this by crowd-surfing. There were several moments when it felt like a portion of the audience was ready to fall over. Luckily, people kept their balance and no one was trampled, though the same can’t be said for injured feet. Standing by one of the plaza’s trees wasn’t any better. While some grabbed hold of a better view in the branches, anyone near the trunks got repeatedly rammed from several directions against the rough bark.

Günther ran through his set list from the Pleasureman album. This included hits like “Ding Dong Song,” “Teeny Weeny String Bikini,” and “Golddiggers.” Each successive song and gyration from the Sunshine Girls got the crowd more excited to dance, sing along and make out. The audience orgy nearly ended when a couple rowdy audience members began throwing hard objects at the performers. Luckily, Günther & the Sunshine Girls understood the rabid love foaming from the audience. The show went on. Günther topped it off with an encore performance of “Ding Dong Song” and a single from his upcoming album.

Much of the crowd quickly dispersed after the concert. However, some persistent fans, which included a few of my fellow Nexites, were able to hang around and get some photos and autographs with Günther & the Sunshine Girls. Günther’s performance perfectly reflected the party atmosphere of Isla Vista; everyone went their separate ways that night to spread Günther’s message of love through champagne, glamour, sex and respect.

The Mark Side of UCSB: Outage Illuminates Its Bonding Power

Sunday, May 13, 2007

On Tuesday, I came back from one of the best single day excursions I’ve had in the San Fernando Valley to find that the power had gone out at UCSB. Again. Anyone that’s lived here for more than a year knows what I’m talking about. I’ve experienced more power outages in Santa Barbara than I did during those rolling blackout times during Gray Davis’ term as governor. While I initially found them annoying, my feelings have changed to amusement due to the circumstances that emerge from them. So let me tell you even more about what I like to call “the dark side of UCSB.”

The most interesting power outage I’ve experienced was during my first year. Probably because it was the first time I’ve been in such an unfamiliar situation. The dorms have backup generators that allow for dim lighting in the hallways. While many students went took advantage of the light to study for midterms, others, like my friends and I, used it as a chance to socialize and bond. We went to one of the lounges to find one of our floormates attempting to get a three way going with two other ladies. Seeing as the moment was ruined, he was a good enough sport to turn the situation into a round table session to exchange dirty stories. It felt like a gigantic deviant slumber party.

I thought that first power outage was an anomaly. However, I was proven wrong, as year after year, power would again go out on campus or in Isla Vista. All these incidents have shown that people do tend to overreact when the power goes out. No Internet or television can be a bit jarring, which goes to show how empty are lives are without electricity. Hell, there are even grown people with a fear of the dark. You also don’t come to appreciate how well lit the campus is until it’s not. I was doing some work at the office before Spring Break when all the power went out around Storke Plaza. It was not as bad as it could have been, though, for the fact that it was a new moon. I was trapped in pitch darkness. Good thing cell phones have become obnoxiously brighter over the years.

Yet none of the compares to pseudo-riot following last spring’s power outage. Even though it only lasted for a mere 20 minutes, residents on Sabado Tarde Road rushed out to the darkened streets to light up more than half a dozen couches and to shoot fireworks into the air.

Luckily, power is restored pretty fast around here. Most outages last around two hours in length. The shortest one I’ve experienced was 20 minutes long and the longest one, five hours. This week’s power outage falls within the typical length but occurred at an inopportune time. I certainly sympathize with those unlucky few stuck in the elevators. It’s bad enough being stuck in a cramped space with total strangers or even all by your lonesome for a couple seconds.

It’s not like these power outages are caused by the city’s electrical drainage. One outage was caused when a tree fell on some power lines. Construction workers who hit an underground pipe caused another. Ironically, those workers were part of the Electrical Infrastructure Renewal Project that was attempting to fix the outdated power system on campus.

I’m glad that I don’t find these power outages as annoying as I used to. I spend enough time at home and at work sitting in front of the computer. Even when I’m hanging out on a sunny day, I can’t help but think of what I need to be doing in front of a computer. It takes something like a lack of electricity to free me from the shackles of modern technology. Power outages are as much a staple of UCSB life as ineffective protesting. Don’t think of them so much as a nuisance, keeping you from your precious Facebook, but rather a chance to get outside, talk to your neighbors and enjoy the nature you came here for.

Daily Nexus columnist Mark Batalla once walked in on a game of “who’s in my mouf?” during a power outage.

Hullabaloo: Popping Out Update 5

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Got the film processed yesterday and watched the footage today. It came out better than I hoped, considering I didn't know what I was doing half the time. It was the first time I used film, shot with a film camera, animated all by myself, and numerous other tasks. For all intents and purposes, the film is done. I'll finalize editing and get a rough soundtrack tomorrow. Hopefully it gets picked for Reel Loud despite the number of submissions this year. I'm just glad the hard parts are done.

Posted by Batalla at 10:02 PM 0 comments  

Hullabaloo: Popping Out Update 4

Friday, May 04, 2007

Things are starting to get down to the wire. Live action shoot is tomorrow, animation shoot is on Monday, film processing on Tuesday, editing on Wednesday, and submission for Reel Loud 2007 on Friday.

Posted by Batalla at 5:40 PM 1 comments  

Hullabaloo: Popping Out Update 3

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Here's more designs from the impeccable Simon Estrada. Since I've been losing sleep over this project, it's nice to know that I've got a crew that I can trust.

Posted by Batalla at 11:38 PM 0 comments  

Hullabaloo: Popping Out Update 2

Monday, April 30, 2007

Here are some designs by Simon Estrada. So far things are on schedule. Film is being ordered today and shooting is planned for this upcoming weekend.

Posted by Batalla at 2:07 PM 0 comments  

The Mark Side of UCSB: Game With a Buddy

Friday, April 27, 2007

Last Wednesday, Microsoft held a Halo 2 tournament at Corwin Pavilion. As a self-hating nerd, I’m inclined to ridicule all those players that attended. But rather than make fun of all the gamers, I want to praise the sponsors of the tournament. I welcome events that encourage gamers to get out of their rooms and into the outside world, even if it’s just a short walk to somewhere else on campus.

Similar to Jack Yi’s argument that electronic commerce is degenerating human contact, so too has the continued rise of online gaming. While there is nothing inherently wrong with playing videogames, it’s when gamers start to value the virtual world over the real one that problems arise.

Back when I lived in the dorms, my friends and I would set up weekly games in the lounges. Everyone would lug over their televisions and consoles and we’d get some eight-player Halo games going for hours on end. Other times we’d take advantage of the residence halls’ LAN connections and play computer games like Warcraft III and Counter-Strike. Every once in a while, someone would attempt to organize tournaments, inviting everyone on campus. All these activities were great because everyone would be interacting with each other during and between play sessions. We’d heckle, compare strategies and congratulate each other for a good game.

Online gaming services like Xbox LIVE changed that. Sure, online play existed years prior, but that was the distinction between playing on a computer and on a game system. The ability to play console games online also brought with it ranking systems and high-score boards. People are no longer playing for fun, but to prove they are higher up on a number scale. That encourages cheap tactics and quitting games mid-play to maintain a win-loss record. When you play with friends, you aren’t too focused on winning. They’re people you’ve played with countless times and so you’re likely familiar with their playing style. To keep game play from being repetitive, it becomes necessary to start experimenting with some unorthodox tactics. This in turn leads to even more hours of surprisingly fresh experiences.

One of the ironic benefits of online gaming is that it allows you to potentially play with anyone in the world. Because of that capability, my friends and I got lazy. Instead of meeting up at somebody’s place, we’d just call them up and play each other online from our respective rooms. It sure didn’t feel the same. You might as well be challenging an incredibly smart - or, in many cases, idiotic - virtual opponent.

The ultimate killer of a social life for an online gamer is the Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. There’s no way to be a casual MMORPG player. These games, like World of Warcraft (WoW), are designed to eat away at your life. They do it through the financial investment of the subscription fee, time consuming missions and the pseudo-community feel of playing with thousands of players in a single virtual environment. Don’t even get me started on the fucked up relationships that spawn between players.

There are some weird anomalies. My roommate Torrin at one point was one of the top 200 Warcraft III players on the West Coast. For that and other reasons, he was one of the first to get to play WoW and he’s been playing the game ever since. He would later go on to single-handedly destroy a guild of several dozen players in the game, even managing to make a grown Australian woman cry from halfway across the globe. Check out for evidence of her mental breakdown. It’s frightening, sad and funny at the same time. I can’t decide whether I should congratulate him for his accomplishments or tell him to get a life.

There’s no reason to shut yourself off if you want to get your game on. Take matters into your own hands. You don’t need Microsoft to set up a gaming event. If you’re going to game, invite people over or play at a friend’s place. Friends don’t let friends frag alone.

Daily Nexus columnist Mark Batalla assures you that the vibrating in your hands is from all the needler shots to the back.

Hullabaloo: Popping Out Update 1

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Here are some rough model sheets I made for the characters. I'm actually basing the designs from last year rather than this year because they'll animate easier.

Posted by Batalla at 9:54 AM 0 comments  

He Said, She Said: "Scrubs" vs "Grey's Anatomy" Part 2

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

“Grey’s” Tugs at Viewers’ Hearts Like “Scrubs” Never Could
by Nicki Arnold

I plan my entire week around this single hour. It’s the only time that my five roommates and I are in the same room together. It’s the only show during which I let myself cry - which is saying a lot, because I’m emotionally dead inside. Of course, it is “Grey’s Anatomy.”

It’s not the first doctor show, but I’m glad for that. You’ve gotta have a few crappy drafts before you finally get it right, so I actually thank “ER” for being the first (oh, “Scrubs” fans, you’re so sad that your little show isn’t as original as you claim, aren’t you?).

What keeps me and, oh, like 30 million other people coming back is those characters and their oh-so-complicated lives. Does Derek love Meredith enough to give it all up? How much longer can Addison and Alex ignore that sexual tension that leaves me aching for my own steamy kiss? Izzy and George - just friends or something more? The show always leaves me damning the time until next Thursday.

“Scrubs” just doesn’t reel me in like that. It’s the kind of show that you watch when it’s on and you’re procrastinating. Sure, I’ve been known to enjoy a “Scrubs” episode now and again. Once, I thought I felt tears brimming at the edge of my eyes … oh, actually, I was on my period. Dang hormones, making me believe an inane comedy like “Scrubs” could make me emotional.

“Grey’s” has it all: a hot cast (McSteamy, you dick, those eyes make me forgive you every time), a soundtrack that makes you wanna waste time chasing cars around your head and a storyline with more twists than Lombard Street. What does “Scrubs” have but a dumb janitor and a dead stuffed dog?

And, Wikipedia tells me that “Grey’s” is Bill Clinton’s favorite show. Really, who can argue with Bill?

Daily Nexus assistant opinion editor Nicki Arnold wants to lay with McDreamy and just forget the world.

He Said, She Said: "Scrubs" vs "Grey's Anatomy" Part 1

“Scrubs” Is Twice as Good as “Grey’s” in Half the Time
by Mark Batalla

Dr. John “J.D.” Dorian, the main character of “Scrubs”, once said in reference to an inferior medically themed show about the lives of interns becoming full-fledged doctors, “Oh, I do love that show. It’s like they’ve been watching our lives and then just put it on TV.”

He’s right. “Grey’s Anatomy” is nothing more than a rip-off with a heavy dose of melodramatic chick flair and eye candy.

“Grey’s” is the ratings powerhouse on Thursday nights, but since when do ratings determine the quality of a show? “Arrested Development” and “Futurama” never got the ratings they deserved despite their well-written content. Syndication is a better judge of a quality and popularity. “Scrubs” airs on three different channels multiple times a day in the Santa Barbara area. All “Grey’s” has is a plan for a spin-off. That’s just proof of the show’s bloated cast and inability to properly craft enticing stories within its hour-long time slot.

“Scrubs” may be half as long as “Grey’s,” but it accomplishes more than twice as much in its allotted time. Most “Scrubs” episodes are accessible stand-alone stories that can be watched out of order. The characters are simple archetypes, but they’re given memorable personalities and lines. “Grey’s,” on the other hand, is composed entirely of generic troubled characters with too many interconnected relationships to keep track of at any given moment due to its soap operatic nature.

Don’t be fooled by “Scrub’s” classification as a comedy. Instead of simply piling on the emotion, it cleverly juxtaposes humor with the drama. The absurd comedic moments ironically ground the cast’s acting. It enhances the weight of their reactions to serious situations without looking like scene-stealers.

There is no comparison. Pacing, character development, writing, acting, soundtrack and even first-person narrative. “Scrubs” wipes the floor with “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Daily Nexus art director Mark Batalla can’t do this all on his own, he’s no Superman.

Cover Art

Monday, April 23, 2007

Posted by Batalla at 12:01 PM 2 comments  

the Mark Side of UCSB: Crash Events to Mooch on Free Food

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I was skating to the office one Saturday afternoon when I noticed an event going on in Storke Plaza. I noticed it not because of the humongous outdoor tent, or the dense throng of attendees, but rather because of the delectable wafting smell of still warm catered food. I was down to my last few dollars in my bank account and wasn’t about to spend it on some overpriced burrito. I certainly wasn’t in the mood to eat more instant noodles. That’s when I, or at least my stomach, decided to crash my very first private event.

I scouted the party and saw all the telltale signs of an event just begging to be crashed: numerous access points, wandering guests, semi-formal wear and the most importantly, no nametags. I skated back to my place, put on some decent looking clothes and walked back to Storke Plaza. I didn’t bother to find out what the event was for. It could’ve been charity, a reunion, birthday party or a group showcasing the campus. I was there for food and food alone. I grabbed some coleslaw, mashed potatoes, some slices of ham and a couple sugar cookies. I followed behind a wandering couple before breaking away and heading to the office. Luckily I didn’t have to travel far between each destination.

My friend, Ryan, has more balls than I do. He’s managed to crash private parties for actor John Cleese and musicians Sarah Chang and Ashley Wass. These events are more heavily monitored than the outdoor gatherings I’ve managed to sneak into. There’s usually just one entry point, a guest list, formal attire and the bane of most crashers, a doorperson handing out nametags. Ryan got into the Cleese party by pretending to know another guest. He got into the other party by entering with a group of people that included Sarah Chang and Ashley Wass. Unfortunately, Ryan was asked to leave both parties mere minutes after entering by security, who with whom he had come. He left politely without making a scene.

I agree with Ryan’s actions after getting caught. Getting inside isn’t the problem; it’s keeping from getting kicked out. Crashing an event doesn’t hurt anyone; however, you are taking advantage of the unaware hosts, so at the very least you should have some tact and courtesy. I only go for the free food, but I’m sure there are more ways to get some fun out of it. I’ll leave that to your imagination.

UCSB hosts plenty of events throughout the year. There are even several that are open to the public but not necessarily advertised. The music program has several recitals throughout the year that culminate with an enticing table of hors d’oeuvres outside Geiringer Hall in the Music Building. There are also art exhibitions in the College of Creative Studies and the Art Building. The exhibitions in the Art Building are usually on Wednesday afternoons and even have wine available. Academic departments also host get togethers so the faculty and students can get to know each other better. Expect plenty of pizza from this type of event.

The easiest way to find out about an event is by keeping a close eye on Facebook events and the campus calendar. Even better would be to get in the habit of wandering campus on weekends, when these events usually take place. If you plan on crashing something more posh, make sure to keep a set of formal clothes at the ready. While you’re at it, get a marker and some index cards for a makeshift nametag. It certainly doesn’t hurt to get to know people on the inside as well. Face your back to security and look for a bathroom if you plan on spending a lot of time there. Stick nearby groups of people and keep up the composure that you belong there.

These social gatherings are meant to bring people together. As long as you don’t detract from that or stir up trouble, feel free to crash as many events as you want. My name is Mark Batalla and I’ll be seeing you at the next meeting.

Daily Nexus Art Director Mark Batalla never breaks rule #76 when crashing.

Hullabaloo: Popping Out

Ever since working on The Titan Sting I've had the animation bug in me. As much as I enjoyed helping make that movie, I still want to get my own projects out there. So on a whim I decided I would be submitting something to UCSB's Reel Loud Film Festival. After a couple brainstorming sessions with J, producer of Titan Sting and my upcoming film, I chose to stick with what I knew best. In this case it was the characters from my Hullabaloo comic. This way I won't be wasting time designing new characters and motivations for them. The deadline for the film is May 11 so I've got plenty of work ahead of me. I'm going to scrounge up a small crew and hopefully with their help we can finish this baby. I'll post updates here when I get the chance. Wish me luck!

Posted by Batalla at 10:50 AM 0 comments  

The Mark Side of UCSB: Columnist Reviews Bathrooms. Students Have Their Pick of the Litter

Monday, April 16, 2007

Not wanting or even needing to thrash Associated Students any further this week, I was without an idea for a column. So I went to the one place where I usually get most of my bright ideas - the bathroom. As I sat there on the typical low-grade toilet you find in every Isla Vista household, I realized that the answer was right under my nose.

Most people have plenty of gaps in their schedules and live close enough that they can save their bathroom trip for their residence. But sometimes you drink too much Naked Juice, Red Bull or beer between classes that a trip to the restroom is unavoidable. This entire week I’ve gone to many of the buildings on campus to see what they had to offer in terms of tile and porcelain. The range of construction and overall functionality between the restrooms pleasantly surprised me. You’ll have to forgive me if I only talk about the male restrooms.

Going for a quick wiz may not seem to require that much thought, but many of us guys require certain conditions like at least a separation of one urinal between each user. In this case it’s best to stay away from the restroom in the Arts Building. This restroom is constructed in such a way that the first thing a person sees upon entering is a side view of the urinals. The door also has an irritating tendency to remain open. With no wall separating the sinks and urinals, I suggest using the stalls unless you want passersby to get a glimpse of you draining the lizard. The Music Building on the other hand is better designed with its urinals perpendicularly arranged in relation to the entrance. However, the downside comes from the urinals themselves, which look like haphazard toilets. They are set relatively higher and filled with more water, making splash back more likely to occur.

Sometimes eating from Panda Express may cause the need for a doozy of a two-zie and there’s not enough time to get back to your home bathroom. For this reason I will forever remain envious of the campus toilets. Their industrial strength flushes and wide seating blow every other toilet out of the water. If I ever have enough money, I’m going to make sure to install one of those babies in my house.

Location isn’t as much of a problem with stalls since they are the same in every restroom I’ve been to. I suggest staying away from ones in Girvetz for a number of reasons. These restrooms get a lot of traffic from the classrooms within the building and from around the Arbor. At any given moment you’ll come across students, professors and random campus visitors. For some reason the glory holes in the stalls haven’t been repaired. It has also been used as a set location for several student films due to its roomy and well-lit design. There’s no reason to use Girvetz unless it’s an emergency.

I applaud the maintenance staff for doing a better job cleaning up graffiti than in previous years. However, I do miss the days of reading the pretentious preaching on the stalls and the various responses to them. I can simulate the experience by bringing my laptop into the stall and reading the UCSB LiveJournal community. But as much as I enjoy seeing Livejournal user “excom” tear the other posters a new one, it just doesn’t feel the same. Past graffiti classics include the “grout” jokes written on the Davidson Library bathrooms’ grout such as “The Grouter Limits,” “Grout Expectations” and “Oscar the Grout.” Additionally, I.V, Theater’s bathroom featured this amazing dialogue between two artists:

Artist #1: “I fucked your mom last night.”

Artist #2: “Dad, you’re drunk. Please go home.”

There are general trends that can be gleaned from my research. The fancier restrooms with waterless urinals and automated towel dispensers can be found in the newer buildings as well as around the UCen and Multicultural Center. If you want privacy, try using facilities on the higher floors of a building. Although fewer people use the restrooms while class is in session, the chances of coming across people having sex in a stall at this time are much higher, so be careful. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed this shit.

Daily Nexus art director Mark Batalla takes his potty breaks seriously.

Quick Drawings

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Posted by Batalla at 4:14 PM 0 comments  

The Mark Side of UCSB: UCSB Environment Switches at Night

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I once saw an episode of the Adventures of Pete & Pete that changed the way I looked at the world. Little Pete, frustrated at going to bed at 9 o’clock, gathered a bunch of friends together and attempted to break the world record for going the most days without sleep. All the fantastic occurrences the children witnessed after the sun went down inspired my curiosity and eventual love of the night. Ever since coming to this university, I haven’t found a better time to be nocturnal. With the more pleasant weather of Spring Quarter, staying up and out at night becomes all the more irresistible. So let me take a moment to tell you about something I’d like to call “the dark side of UCSB.”

I’m not talking about the parties or barhopping going on around Isla Vista and the surrounding area of Santa Barbara. I’m talking about an activity as simple as loitering around campus after dark. Once the sun goes down, the campus transforms into a completely different environment. Raccoons, skunks and other animals replace the spaces previously occupied by students. I’ve actually managed to catch stray dogs on two separate occasions while strolling past the lagoon. With only animals and the occasional wandering night crawler, it feels like the entire campus is at your disposal.

I can think of many interesting sights I happened to witness during my time here. Freshman year I sat at the edge of campus point with my date and we watched the lunar eclipse along with other curious stargazers. Sophomore year I stood with my friends on the beach near Manzanita Village and watched a spectacular offshore lightning storm silhouette the oilrigs on the horizon. While these events don’t happen every night, they’re certainly more interesting and less of an eyesore than the gauntlet of student groups I go by past the Arbor.

Speaking of eyesores, if you happen to be wandering campus this Sunday around midnight, you might bear witness to the annual construction of Associated Students election signs. Though they seem like nothing more than beer pong tables garishly painted over with bright colors and cheesy catch phrases, these makeshift structures accurately represent the facade that is student government. They signal the beginning of a paper storm that coats every free space on the walls of the university and I.V. Apparently this method of campaigning is preferred over reaching out to the constituents.

Unfortunately, there are worse things I stumble upon at night. I inevitably come into contact with students journeying back and forth from the residence halls to I.V. I was skating past the UCen during finals week when I noticed a strangely shaped sign next to the flower stand. I got off my board and realized that it was a student hunched over the ground. She didn’t respond to my shouts so I walked over to see if she was okay. She passed out on the floor just as I noticed the vomit hidden by the hair covering her face. Luckily, a couple Community Service Officers happened to ride by and they were able to help the girl out.

Still, witnessing the dark side of UCSB brings a better understanding of the campus. The eternal flame isn’t exactly eternally lit, the garbage trucks furiously take full advantage of the open driving area and a locked out student drunk off his ass will punch through a glass door to get back inside the dorm. I encourage anyone to give this nocturnal perspective a shot. You’ll encounter nuances about the university that you’d otherwise never see in the daytime.

Daily Nexus columnist Mark Batalla is our UCSB Batman, roaming the campus at night.

Death By Director

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Like any horror character worth its weight in kills, a successful horror film will keep coming back for more. Martin Weisz gives his directorial take on the radioactive terror started by Wes Craven and remade by Alex Aja. This film is a sequel to last year’s film rather than a remake of the original “Hills Have Eyes 2.” Aside from that initial confusion, the film works as a stand-alone story. It takes place some time after the first film in the same top-secret location in the desert that serves as the home to a family of killer mutants.

The opening sequence pretty much sets the tone for the entire movie. It’s brutally explicit and to the point. It also emphasizes the mutants’ habit of slaughtering all trespassers except for women, which they use for breeding. Once the main characters arrive and the casualties begin, the film doesn’t let up. Almost no breaks are given between the scares and deaths. It’s certainly a change of pace from the recent trend of psychological thrillers and Japanese horror remakes.

As far as sequels go, “Hills 2” is reminiscent of “Aliens.” Instead of the previous movie’s familial unit, the main characters Napoleon (Michael McMillian) and Amber (Jessica Stroup) are members of a rookie National Guard squad. Yet that doesn’t count much against a technologically primitive threat in its home territory. Everything that could possibly go wrong during the excursion into the desert does. Communication equipment doesn’t work, weapons go missing, and the hostile environment hampers the squad’s efforts. All while a family of killer mutants picks off the soldiers one by one.

What works about the film is the variety of deaths and scares. The writers, father-son team Wes and Jonathan Craven, made sure to include as many different scenarios as possible. Viewers with fear of heights, gore, scat and of course, mutant freaks will find plenty of opportunities to cringe or jump out of their seats. The well-done make-up job for the grotesque mutants alone is enough to elicit fear from any viewer. Their methods of killing match the gruesome nature of their appearances. When the protagonists finally have a chance to enact revenge on the mutants, it feels all the more gratifying.

“Hills 2” takes a very straightforward approach to horror. While there is nothing inherently wrong with that method, Weisz doesn’t quite manage to pull it off effectively. The set ups for a scare are painfully obvious and further watered down by the poor acting. The film instead relies on gore to shock the viewer. But with the amount of violent killing between the soldiers and mutants, the effect rapidly diminishes. After a while, “Hills 2” seems more like a typical action movie.

The film is also an anomaly in Wes Craven’s “Hills” franchise. Craven’s other franchise movies, like the “Scream” trilogy, was driven by its postmodern approach to the horror genre, while the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series was defined primarily by the charisma of its central villain. The “Hills” franchise differentiates itself by placing a helpless familial unit against a danger created by its own government. The family has to become as brutal as the monsters in order to survive. This theme doesn’t resonate well in Weisz’s film. As trained soldiers, the characters should be able to handle themselves in this situation. The squad’s failure to operate effectively makes it look even more inept, and disrupts the film’s attempts at appearing somewhat realistic.

“Hills 2” clocks in at less than two hours and, it ultimately serves as a cheap throwaway thrill. Hopefully this film puts an end to the direction the franchise is going. For better or worse, more remakes of Wes Craven’s films are on the way - hopefully they will start getting better, and not worse.

Craving Some Craven

Shortly before the release of “The Hills Have Eyes 2,” Artsweek, along with several other publications, was invited to participate in a press conference call with the film’s writers, Wes Craven and his son, Jonathan. The following questions, compiled from the phone conference, provide insight to the Cravens’ approach to horror and why Wes Craven and his son have been a mainstay in the genre for over thirty years.

What was it like collaborating on a project?
Jonathan Craven: It was great. We didn’t have a lot of time so we just sat in a room for a month with the walls covered in blood.
Wes Craven: Mostly his blood.
Jonathan: We got along great. If we laughed, we knew it was good. That’s gallows humor.
Wes: Jonathan became a father about two years ago. So you had two writers and two fathers and we were able to connect on that level as well.

Since the film’s characters are soldiers, do you see “The Hills Have Eyes 2” as a metaphor for today’s situation in the Middle East?
Wes: There is a parallel we found intriguing. None of us wanted to make a political film but seeing American kids in a situation where they’re in danger certainly resonates.
Jonathan: We didn’t set out to make it about politics but you can’t avoid the parallels of horror movies with the horrors found in the newspaper.

Is the film a sequel to the original or the remake?
Wes: It’s a sequel to the 2006 film. Alex Aja set the precedent for the back story and we just built off it.

With this film, are you shooting for the same type of audience that went to see your other recent films like “Scream” and “Feast?” Is this movie different?
Wes: I assume anyone that likes horror will like these films. “Hills 2” is different because it’s not about home life. It’s about squad life in the military. We’re still going for the same type of horror and terror.
Jonathan: It’s brutal and direct. People that like straight up horror will like “Hills.”

As writers on this film, how involved were you in picking the director?
Wes: We were involved, but it was mostly the choice of the producer.

How do you feel about the film’s release under Fox Atomic?
Jonathan: Great. They’re a genre division. My experience has been amazing.
Wes: They’ve got a talent for promotion. The trailer they came up with was great. As opposed to a studio that doesn’t know what it’s doing, I feel these guys are fans of the genre.

What’s your favorite horror film?
Wes: I like films like “The Exorcist,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Hostel.” What I like is something I’ve never seen before and the feeling that the director is a dangerous person.

What’s your opinion on modern horror films made after 2000?
Wes: I think we’ve gotten past the PG-13 Japanese remakes when the studios were playing it safe. The right wing had just come into government. Now we’re back to hard hitting, bare knuckled films. It’s a result of the situation in society, the adventure of the U.S. getting into trouble. The situation right now is chaotic, out of control, and painful. It’s like back in the sixties and seventies. Those times inspired films like “Night of the Living Dead.” Now the horror is in your face. You can go onto the Internet and watch a video of a guy getting his head sawed off for real.

What was your experience like shooting in Morocco?
Jonathan: We had a seven-week shooting schedule. Half was on location in the Moroccan hills. They were jaggy and full of cobras and scorpions. We actually had a guy who would go out an hour early and pluck all the snakes and scorpions and put them in a cardboard box 50 feet away from the set. It was a tough shoot and not a lot of time. We had people from 23 different countries helping out. It was fun because it felt like an adventure.

What made you come back for the sequel?
Wes: Great audience reception from the first film. From there I got to thinking about what would happen afterwards? How would the government get involved? How could things go from there?

Is evil hereditary?
Jonathan: Yes.
Wes: This goes back a long line in our family. There was Jack the Ripper, Johan the Slasher, and Gerald the Gutter.

When is the new “Nightmare on Elm Street” film coming out?
Wes: I know nothing about it. The property is owned by New Line.

What was it like revisiting your concepts?
Wes: Alex came up with the idea for the remake. It was interesting seeing what someone else would do and how that person put their own spin on it.

Do you have any golden rules for filming horror?
Wes: Don’t kill the cameraman. Seriously though, I only follow two basic rules: Would I like watching it? And have I seen anything like it before?

What is the difference between the first remake and its sequel?
Jonathan: Last year was about a family out of their element. The baby was taken, family members were kidnapped and killed. This year the family is a military unit. Horror comes from the danger to that familial unit.

What’s the one dream project you’d like to work on?
Wes: The Donald Trump story. It’ll just be about giving him a weapon and having him kill people.

Nexus Art Issue Covers

Friday, March 16, 2007

Here are the covers for the last four years of Daily Nexus art issues. I love jam art mainly because of the collaboration involved and the juxtaposition of different styles. This year's theme was horror characters.

Posted by Batalla at 4:23 PM 0 comments  

Last Art of the Quarter

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Overall, I'm really proud of the quality of the illustrations this quarter. Although I feel it sorta dipped a bit in the middle due to my workload. I definitely like how the negative space turned out on the Yo-Yo Ma picture. It's a concept I've been obsessed with lately.

The Mark Side of UCSB: Artist Finds Academic Purpose With Film Studies Class Competition

Friday, March 09, 2007

With the quarter coming to a close, I have to once again attempt to explain to my parents exactly what I’ve been doing as a film studies major. Each quarter has been a different description because film majors can be divided into several groups. There are coasters trying to finish with as little effort as possible who figure a major based predominantly around watching movies is the way to go, there are the film writers who take analysis and criticism seriously and there are the student filmmakers who actually go out and make movies.

For a good portion of my time in the major, I was one of the coasters. It was cool taking classes devoted to specific aspects of film history and theory but I didn’t feel motivated enough to try and excel at them. That pretty much changed after taking a couple courses geared toward film production taught by Dana Driskel.

I’ve been considering animation as a possible career after graduating so I first got to know Dana through his animation classes last year. I think it was probably Dana’s no-nonsense approach to teaching that convinced me to get more involved with film production. He knew what he was talking about and didn’t pull any punches when telling students what he thought of their work.

As Dana put it, “It’s easy to get a ‘C’ in one of my classes, but if you want a ‘B’, let alone an ‘A’, you’re going to have to do your best to impress me and earn it.” That statement pretty much hit home. I could either keep coasting or start taking myself seriously and better prepare myself for life after college. And so I switched over to being one of the filmmaking students within the major.

With my newfound interest in filmmaking, I decided to attend the pitch day for the FS 106 class back in September. The 106 class picks four pitches and gives student filmmakers two quarters to turn them into a movie to be screened at the end of Winter Quarter. They have access to Film Studies’ resources and aside from some guidance from Dana, the film crews have to take it upon themselves to finish their movies. I attached myself to the crew of “The Titan Sting,” one of this year’s four projects.

My experience with the 106 class - and specifically with “The Titan Sting” movie - has been simultaneously one of the most frustrating and fulfilling creative experiences of my life. Working long hours into the night, animating figures miniscule movement by miniscule movement has definitely taken its toll on my stress levels. Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve had a blast working with Adriana, J, Max and the rest of the crew because we all have the same passion for completing our film. I still find it hard to describe how it feels seeing our work come alive piece by piece over the year.

With the March 23 screening rapidly approaching, all of us on “The Titan Sting” and the other 106 crews are putting the final touches on our respective films. The end of the quarter will be a sigh of relief as we finally have the chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the filmmaking experience as a spectator while other students on campus view our hard work.

When I go home, I’ll finally have a definitive answer for when my parents ask me what I’ve been doing with their money. I’m tempted to give a pretentious “I make static images come to life,” but it will end up along the lines of “finally getting my life together and looking forward to the future.”

Daily Nexus columnist Mark Batalla will Titan Sting you with his sharp art.

Art Dump

Friday, March 02, 2007