LATEST

Category
  • HANGS WITH K BATT

    K Batt explains the top five things you need to know before you move to Los Angeles.

    These are direct, practical lessons from an Angeleno with 14 years of real-world experience in the city of Angels, delivered in her signature creepy, histrionic, court-jester-like style.

    Like and share if you found this helpful.

    Leave a comment and provide you own tips and tricks about moving to LA.

    K Batt:

    http://instagram.com/k__batt/

    Whitney:

    http://instagram.com/atcwhitney/

    An Above the Cut Film.

    http://abovethecutfilms.com

  • My Birthday: $35 For 35

    Kirsten and I threw a party for my birthday on August 4 2018.

    We had some amazing friends over.

    MAS Tattoo was tattooing in our kitchen.

    I turned 35 so he did $35 tattoos.

    MAS Tattoo:

    https://www.instagram.com/mas.tattoos/

    Me:

    https://www.instagram.com/atcwhitney/

    Kirsten:

    https://www.instagram.com/k__batt/

    An Above the Cut Film.

  • Greaser Reviews The Matrix

    My friend Mike was kind enough to invite me to a screening of a 35mm print of The Matrix.

    It was at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills.

    I've been inspired lately by my friend, Hero Bishop, and his YouTube show called "Nerd x Core."

    Watching how passionate Hero is about his content got me stoked, so I offered to help him create a little content here and there for Nerd x Core.

    After seeing The Matrix at the Academy, which was one of the coolest experiences of my life, my feeling about Hero plus my excitement from seeing The Matrix in 35mm coalesced and I decided to put together this film.

    Hope you enjoy.

  • Levi's® Custom Motorcycle

    In 2014, I'd already made literally hundreds of videos for Levi's®.

    Most of what I did, I didn't like.  Almost none of it was my idea.  Of course, to each their own.  But, as a fan of my employer, I felt like I had something that just so happened to by my idea, and that also was good for their brand, and that I could execute with greater authenticity than if it came from anyone's mind out of the corporate office.

    I became friends with a guy named Ryan, the master tailor appointed by corporate for the brand globally.  He lived in New York for a while, but when he came back to SF, I talked him into getting a motorcycle.

    I wanted more friends to ride with.

    He bought a Harley and became obsessed.

    He started tinkering with parts and customization.

    My other friend, Laif, had already been doing that, when he wasn't going on auditions or riding with me.

    There was a local hangout we used like a coffeeshop.  We would all go there almost every day just to hang out.  Sometimes, we'd decide to go for a ride from there.

    It was a community motorcycle garage called Piston & Chain.

    I had this idea suddenly that I could help Levi's® talk to its audience through films and photos, Laif, Ryan, motorcycles, and Piston & Chain.

    Levi's® was always talking in the office about "authenticity," the "workers," the "builders," the "individual," and "rugged" lifestyle.

    Mind you, most of the people working in the office were the antithesis of all of these things.  They were typically uptight, snobby, self-absorbed, prissy, fearful, insulated people who usually came from money and didn't even need their job to survive.

    But I believed in the marketing.  I was making videos for marketing purposes.  I'm a method actor.  I got into the mindset.

    So I talked to tons of people at the company over a few weeks when I'd pop in for other, more soul-sucking meetings and gigs.  There didn't seem to be much interest.

    I figured it was dead on arrival.  But I wanted to do my best, so I knew it wouldn't be my fault if it didn't go.

    So, instead of continuing to talk, or simply dropping the idea altogether, I made this video on a day off.

    It was a private link, and I emailed it to tons of people, including the President and the CEO of Levi's®, both of whom I'd never spoken to via email but who were cc'ed at various points on emails I was a part of.

    I couldn't try to have my pitch heard any harder than that.

    Nothing ever happened.

    Besides the fact that I now have this video.

    I still like it, even though it feels like a painful reminder of a time when my days, unbeknownst to me, were numbered working for Levi's®.

    And, as a reminder of a certain wide-eyed optimism I had then, it makes my stomach turn a bit now in hindsight. (Not only did the video go nowhere and the gigs dry up, but my two friends in the video aren't really in my life anymore either, and I broke up with San Francisco.  Long story.)

    But none of that matters.

    One of the things I love about filmmaking and taking photos is that the truth in films and photos is captured at a time and place, and exists forever in that form.

    Even if things change, like they always do in life, there exists somewhere an infinite loop where a story plays over and over again.  And nothing can change that.  Not even reality.

    It exists.

    In a film.

    In this film.

  • New York 2012

    In 2012, I was making a living full-time as a filmmaker and photographer.

    I was living in San Francisco and freelancing for a bunch of clients, but Levi's® was regularly hiring me.  I'd been broke my whole life and suddenly I was making more money than I ever thought I'd make.

    I was constantly scared, because I'd managed to scrape my way, after years of trying, out of the minimum wage and service industry worlds, and I never wanted to go back.

    But I also felt like it was sure to go away at any moment, so I gladly became an insatiable workaholic.

    I'd regularly pull marathons where I'd be working around the clock with no days off for up to a month.  That's because I wanted to do all the gigs and all the jobs on all the gigs.

    Every time I worked with anybody else, they'd screw up their job over and over until I'd just take over for them and do it myself.  I'd pitch, plan, schedule, direct, shoot, run live audio, edit, sound design, take photos, etc.

    Generally, when I'd have a day off, I'd get right back into looking for more work.

    But, for once, I decided that, after a typical marathon gig, this time I'd go on vacation.

    I could have gone anywhere in the world.  I'd never had enough money to be able to do that before (and may never again.)

    I chose New York.

    I wanted to take some video while I was there so I could look back on it, in case, at some point, I lost my career, became broke again, and could never go back.

    I wasn't even convinced that I should upgrade to a Canon 5d because I never believed my freelance career would last until the next month for years.  So I brought my t3i, which I'd been using to make the videos that paid for that trip (It's the Indian, not the arrow).

    I'd never been to New York.  Ever since 1991, there were two things that I knew: that I wanted to be a filmmaker and I wanted to live in New York.  I didn't know why, but I felt it was true.

    When I arrived, I immediately felt at ease.  It felt like home.  The noise, the traffic, the energy, the smell.  It warmed my soul.

    It's been six years.  I became a filmmaker and did that job for a living for a long time.

    The time spent that you see in this video is the closest I've come to living in New York.

  • Silverlake Reservoir

    Late last year, I had to pick up a second job.

    I moved from San Francisco, where my freelancing business was booming for years, to LA, where it stopped dead in the waters of Silverlake.

    I arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed in Hollywood in 2015. The prodigal son, who left home penniless, without any direction, and returned, by most accounts, with a pretty impressive self-made business under his belt. Some of the biggest possible clients from around the world. Some high-profile projects. Even LinkedIn references, if you were asking for primary sources.

    In 2015, the Silverlake Reservoir had evaporated, and the ensuing barren landscape mirrored my newfound career drought I’d unknowingly walked into.

    I pursued my connections from San Francisco and New York, but they only lasted me a handful of months.

    I tried establishing new ones in Hollywood but I ran into that famous nepotism wall. The one the white walkers always seem to have such a hard time with.

    I tried DTLA but I was too New York for fake-New-York.

    I tried Santa Monica but I was too skeptical of the brash start-ups I figured would collapse before sending me my check.

    I even tried connections in Silverlake but it was all dried up.

    The wall is protecting the privileged of Hollywood from Wildlings: self-made freelancers who are wary of the unions (full disclosure: I’m a member of SAG) and interested in thinking outside the box (or north of the wall, if you will.)

    The wall is real. I left Los Angeles the first time because of it. And when I returned with more optimism than an MMA fighter with a burgeoning (but tenuous) potential movie career, I ran head first into it again like I’d never left.

    In San Francisco, everything clicked into place.

    But I found myself back in Hollywood.

    In the middle of a draught.

    So, after burning myself out taking freelancing jobs I was way overqualified for while being paid what amounted to less than minimum wage by the hour, six to seven days a week, for months at a time (not to mention, being treated like absolute garbage by that other famous Hollywood cliche: unhinged narcissists), I made a decision I never thought I’d make again: I took a customer service job.

    I picked my favorite coffee shop. One that, in an intentionally maudlin gesture, reminded me of San Francisco, and started working, giving up any ideas of continuing my freelancing career.

    A few weeks ago, I resigned at my toxic customer service job.

    I didn’t know what I was going to do. But I knew that anything was better than staying at that job. Even being homeless. I’ve been homeless before. It was in the Bay Area. It happened only a couple years before I started freelancing full time.

    Then, out of nowhere, a friend connected me with someone who offered me a job.

    I was to start the day before my last day at the coffee shop.

    I’m working on a project, without giving away too much, that’s connected to my favorite director, the one who inspired me in 1990 to pursue the art life.

    In 2015 Silverlake was completely barren.

    Now, from Los Feliz, I can see a shimmering surface.

  • "All Bad Vibes" - Producer's Cut

    This is the "Producer's Cut" of the music video for "All Bad Vibes" by Gimme Danger.

    I'm planning both a "Director's Cut" and a "Producer's Cut."  The latter is a homage to "Halloween 6" and its famously different versions.

    This cut focuses on the band performing entirely and will probably be used as a sales tool for their EPK, I'd imagine.

    The "Director's Cut" will focus more on my preferred "narrative" angle, for which filming is not completed.

    Unlike the "Bonnie Y Bonnie" project (see previous post), I was given creative control with "All Bad Vibes" as the director, even with this "Producer's Cut," so the distinction is more about my intended audience than delineating the author of the piece.

    After this project, I've only got one other obligation that may or may not materialize, and then, a clean slate.  So whether this is the penultimate episode for me or not, it's been an amazing ride making films since I was 8 years old and I'm very proud of the work I've done and the voice I've maintained consistently throughout my work.

  • Bonnie Y Bonnie

    Here's my Director's Cut of "Bonnie Y Bonnie."

    This project started when a former friend asked me to direct from a script that she wrote.

    I say "former" because, in the middle of the project, she hijacked the decision-making process, essentially fired me as the director in the most passive-aggressive way possible, and I walked away with my own cut intact.

    I took an "Alan Smithee" credit as director on her version but I kept my name on this, my intended cut as the director that she asked me to be.

    I post this version here to commemorate not only a bit of work I'm pretty proud of, but also, the work of a handful of friends and collaborators who'd lost hours of work and sleep to do me the favor of donating their valuable time, creativity, and energy to my vision as the director of "Bonnie Y Bonnie."  I can't ever repay them so I hope they know how grateful I am.

    While I'm very happy with the final product of my Director's Cut, the experience was the worst in a long line of terrible experiences that have led me to question why I even bother being an artist and creating things with other people at all.  I've found that I consistently used to find happiness and mutual respect for years working with other people as a filmmaker until recently, when I've been consistently much happier and more respected doing anything BUT making films.

    This may be one of the last things I ever make, since the thought of not making things excites me much more than the thought of making them lately.  I'd rather be happy than stubbornly pursue a childhood dream that makes me miserable without exception, as has been the case of late.

    Here's to something or someone possibly changing my mind at some point in the future!

  • Kirsten Blooper

    Before we dated, Kirsten worked at Levi's® Global Headquarters on Battery Street in San Francisco.  The first time I met her, we hated each other.  I was hired to take photos of upcoming product by somebody else, who then pawned me off onto her.  We didn't hit it off at all.

    Months later, I was hired to film a training video for Levi's® and unbeknownst to either of us, Kirsten was one of the interviewees.  She had had a crush on me since we met, apparently.

    You can tell in the above clip from the training video shoot.