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Alien Citizen Goes to South Africa
Alien Citizen Goes to Valencia, Spain

My talented and beautiful wife, Elizabeth Liang (aka Lisa), is a writer, producer, and actor. She created a solo show, Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey, which she describes as “a funny and poignant one-woman show about growing up as a dual citizen of mixed heritage in Central America, North Africa, the Middle East, and New England.”

One of the myriad goals of the show, if successful, was that it would allow her to travel the world to perform it. So far, the show went to Iceland, Spain, Panama, South Africa, and Singapore. I’d call that successful, wouldn’t you?

Of course, getting to these countries involved several rounds of fundraising.
To go to Valencia Spain, and Capetown South Africa, Lisa ran a Kickstarter campaign that promised potential donors documentaries of the trips - so they could see how their money was spent. And me being the filmmaker, I got tasked with making the films.

I was so pleased with the final results that I got Lisa to give me permission to let you see them. Keep in mind that these were originally supposed to be for a small group of donors, but I think they’re eminently watchable... 

The Paradoxes: I, II, III

Making the short film Vigilance was a complete joy, but one of the things I learned in touring the festival circuit was that filmmakers are at the mercy of projectionists for a “good show”. I sent out 35mm prints to be screened (remember film?) and would get them back trashed. Perfs torn, pieces of the film totally crumpled and thrashed.

One of the other things I learned on the festival circuit was that comedy seems to win over drama.

So, armed with all that, I decided to give the festivals a response.  It took many many years before I actually made this, and in that time, the digital film revolution happened. I still think it’s relevant.  And funny. But that’s just me.

Image these pieces playing in a program of short films - one near the start of the program, one in the middle, and one towards the end. Might I suggest that if you’re gonna watch these now, you watch them, in order, but take a break in viewing them.

And now, for the first time anywhere, I give you... The Paradoxes.

The Paradoxes: I

The Paradoxes: II

The Paradoxes: III


And now for something completely different…

Out of the blue, I was contacted by Greg Peterson, a Loyola film school student who was part of a class where the students were focusing in on potential careers in the film industry, and were required to interview "professionals" from their area of interest. He had found my resume online and he wanted to interview me about being a professional editor - my history, editing philosophy, the relationship to the director, etcetera. Me? I thought. Well why not? I'm always happy to opine at length. I thought I'd be talking with him on the phone, or maybe get together for a coffee. 

Turns out that he was required by his professor to film our interview, and then he had to cut something together for his class. Oh my! I kinda freaked out at first. I'm not really one to be in front of the camera, I haven't lectured on filmmaking, and I don't think of myself as particularly telegenic. Basically, I thought I was probably gonna look really silly on camera. After I calmed the heck down, I said sure, again, and went and did this interview… where I was allowed to ramble on at ridiculous length, answering his questions. T'was a very nice, thorough and professionally done interview. I had no idea what would come from it. He sent me a link to the finished video when it was done, saying it had come out really well and wanting my permission in case he wanted to use it (or a part of it) in his reel. Now it's gonna be viewable in the big wide world? Oh my, again. Lemme take a look. 

I watched it and was delighted with what he had done (especially since I didn't come across as sounding totally silly). So I had to immediately write him back to say, "absolutely, do whatever you want. You rock! And, ummmm... can I use this for my own reel?"

So… if you'd like to "meet" me a little bit, have a look. My thanks and all credit goes to Greg for sharing his work. He did the heavy lifting of shooting and editing this, and in the process, making me look pretty darn good (or at least not half bad, if I do say so myself.)

Hitler Finds Out About Final Cut X

In 2011, Apple’s controversial release of Final Cut Pro X sent shockwaves through the professional editing community which are still reverberating to this day.

In that tumultuous first week of the launch, my brother, David Lawrence, and I had some initial thoughts on the new program that led to our collaborating on this video. It’s here, though it’s really about the writing - as opposed to showcasing an editing technique - but it’s about editing, oh yes it is...

... and we did it using Final Cut Pro 7 and its very useful iChat theater feature - collaboration tools still missing from FCP X after ten years...

We thought it turned out rather well. Why, we even found out that editing god Walter Murch saw it and laughed! The highest compliment we could ever get!

Definitely NSFW, if your boss is into reading subtitles over your shoulder!