Monday, June 09, 2008

Anniversary Blog?!

Good God, 100 posts in this blog o' mine... where does the time go?

It's time once again for me to reflect and refrain (in vain?) from wallowing in self pity or outright bitterness. It's pushing 2 years since I started maintaining this as an easy way to collect all of my somewhat relevant thoughts to my friends who may be interested - in part to save me some time from eMailing everybody I know the same crap 10 times over - but it's turned into something a little different. Something more complex... self aware. Skynet may not have evolved, but this vaguely DVD and anime/cult movie centric blog has become something that I can no longer control.

To be honest, I'm kinda' liking it.

While the bootleg profiting part of Kentai Films has more or less dried up, this "down time" has left me ample opportunity to effectively slap the KF name on high quality DVD-R fansubs, which doesn't bother me nearly as much as it should. See, I started this whole outfit on the off-chance that slapping together "perfect" versions of movies I loved in the first place would net me just enough profit that I could continue buyng new movies to work on. But a lot of things have changed since I started this project with a German DVD of A-KITE, some cracked DVD Lab Basic software and a dream. For one thing, most of the titles that "needed me" really don't in this stunningly digital age: literally any film title you can throw at me can be downloaded in a high quality DivX or MKV download from some Russian website that if you aren't careful will link you to hardcore gorilla bestiaity porn, and while my DVD-R will look infinitely better than any shitty download, I know that 95% of the world really doesn't care about things like high birates and DVD centric compatability. For most people, a download is "good enough", and if that's so then guys like me focusing on stellar presentations are going to be inevitably kicked to the curb by pay-to-download sites anyway. It's a scary thought, but one that Hollywood - and the rest of the world - is already paying pretty close attention to.

Another thing that's changed is the level of work I do with ********* *****. (I refuse to ever admit what legitimate R1 DVD studio I freelance for, since doing so would be a hell of a conflict of interests. Still, if you know me, you know who they are.) I can't say that I'm doing 3 DVDs a month for 'em - much as I'd like to - but business with them is steady enough that most of the general walking around money I used to earn from boolegs, which inevitably went back to the eBay monster and buying fresh printable DVD-R and empty armary cases, has (more or less) been replaced by my boss sending me a tasty paycheck every once in a while. It isn't much, but I don't really need much. If I had a belly full of ramen, a car with a quarter tank of gas, and at least one shiny new DVD each month, I'm getting by. Ah, the glamorous life of a bootlegger... HA! (I wish I could say owning a "real" studio meant things were better... but there's a reason Kentai Films will never really go legit.)

In a horrifyingly real way, Kentai Films - as a booleg studio - has devolved into a theoretical contraption. A sort of paper tiger that I can use with which to do whatever the hell I want. It's somewhat liberating to not worry about wither or not I'm doing something that could get me into trouble, or that would otherwise tarnish whatever good name I had prior. Not that subtitling pedoriffic noir and gay ass-rape anime left me with a "good name" by any logical stretch of the term, but you guys know what I mean.

I am Kentai, and as such, whatever I want Kentai Films to be, it will be. Which leaves me to that reflection part... what the hell do I want Kentai Films to be in the Summer of 2008?

I really wish I had a simple answer for that. I've never intended to give up bootlegging. Building a competent "sale" website has just never happened for the multitude of real-life getting in the way, but I can't say work hasn't recently been done towards those ends either. Kentai Films is not a fansub group, but I won't give up patching R2s and offering them for free, should it help me get to discs that others have done the same with. (The "Free" versions will be different from the "Sale" versions anyway, for the most part.) Kentai Films isn't a studio that offers help to other R1 licensors either. To be honest, I kinda' got the gig I have now through good luck, blackmail and really hitting it off with my boss, and while I'm always actively trying to weasel my way into the pockets of other studios, they're either too big to notice me or too small to be able to bother with a full-time subtitle guru who happens to make crappy menus and shoddy covers as a 'bonus'. I lack the hardware to do transfers and disc authoring in-house, and I lack the motivation to set up a small business that would allow me to do so (plus, the thought of failing and filing for bankruptcy keeps me at bay). I'm in that painful "Jack of all Trades, Master of None" rut, and likely always will be... even if I am pretty goddamn good at taking an incompetent foreign script and making some English subtitles out of it.

Speaking of which, that last project my boss handed me? Brutal. I was handed a 45 minute making-of with 400+ subtitles, in a language I don't know a word of, and told that - and I quote - "This will be a rush job from Hell". The DVD ships in less than a month, and he thought all the extras would be hard-subbed... but, it didn't happen that way. 4 days after it was handed to me, it was done, timed, spell checked... everything. To my credit I did nothing the first day and the third day was just me watching it multiple times to make sure my coffee infused work the previous 2 days hadn't gone awry at any point. Absolutely mind-numbing, and I couldn't have been happier to sit far, far away from a computer once I was done.

A real shame that telling you guys what the film itself is would be a conflict of interests. It's fucking amazing, and I hope it sells a million copies not because it benefits me or my employer, but because it's a masterpiece and deserves massive world-wide recognition and acclaim (which means nothing without sales). Not that it'll get it, but I can't wait until the reviews start flying out on this one none the less.

While all of the "Patch" projects I had lined up are now finished, my partner in crime has just threatened to send me more DVD-Rs than I can shake my cock at. To him, I say bring it: while working on simple add-the-subtitles projects aren't quite what I even envisioned Kentai Films to be about, it keeps me busy and doesn't require a multi-year investment to craft a perfect version of. Personal matters seem to keep getting better and better, so if things continue on the way that they have been as of late, expect this blog to be overflowing with good news for fans of all sorts of genres.

...huh? You want some relevant content? Oh, fine. Here's a peek at my current photoshop skillz.


Well, my wife says it's bitchin'... what do you think?

Yeah, I know... Genocyber: Ultimate Edition, first. I promise. I'm like that kid who keeps pushing his brussel sprouts around on his plate, not wanting to eat them but knowing that delicious pie awaits when it's all done. I'm slowly re-acquainting myself with DVD Maestro, and the advanced functions - to say nothing of a very stupid mistake I made in menu design - have put the whole thing into a quagmire from which I'll attempt to giggity my way out of in the near future. I either never should have made it bi-lingual or never put the OST on as a DVD extra. The two of them are horrific pain in the asses, both, and putting the both of them in there makes the DVD roughly the equivalent of performing wisdom tooth removal with a soldering iron and a pair of nipple clamps: sounds like complicated fun at first, but after the first hour, you realize it was a really stupid fucking idea.

After Genocyber? We'll see, dear friends.

Enough patting myself on the back. I'm either going to work or get some sleep. I don't know which I'm better suited for at the moment, but I feel that not doing one or the other has just got to be counterproductive.

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