Zach's PEN #37: Virtual Production

2021 Week 14: Getting ready to shoot Markee videos, no pressure

Dear PENpals,

I'm tired. More from the pressure I'm putting on myself than the actual workload, but... I'm tired. Looking forward to a vacation at the Jersey Shore for Memorial Day. Or as they say in Philly, "goin' down the shuuuuore."

Between now and then, a lot is happening, most of it this week.

Markee Videos

We're shooting the promotional videos for Markee on Thursday. Mauro is directing, and it's a highly technical shoot. I'm working with the actors. We're doing it all in our studios using virtual production and 3D sets. This is a really crazycool thing. We've been doing tests and even the quick, not-color-or-light-matched tests look amazing. It's opening up so many creative possibilities.

Again, this test (featuring Short Order senior producer Christina Reilly) is totally not good, yet somehow it's amazing.

There was a moment when I was planning out all the software animations and looked at my desk and realized I've become a caricature of myself.

Sorry for the warped iPhone wide lens, but notice the Leica, the vinyl, the Topo Chico, and yes, that is a chess timer. I won’t go into what I use that for. The suggestion box is something I may talk about in the future. Everyone like me should have a suggestion box.

The "Walking Every Street in Philly" Project

Started it last week. Check it out.

For anyone worried about this, please understand that there are a lot of streets in Philly and I'm not rushing right to any notoriously dangerous neighborhoods. This is going to take years. More than anything, it's a fun excuse for me to exercise regularly in a gamified way. I'm not going to be stupid or careless, I'm going to bring people with me for as many walks as possible, and this is just going to be light and fun, cool? This is just walking. I just like to make it a game of filling in every street green because I'm goofy. How cool is this map though?

This Week's Other Posts

I wrote about being a slow reader and how angry I am that all the "fast readers" never let me in on the fact they all cheat.

I wrote a Twitter thread of threads to pin to the top of my Twitter profile where I can just keep the ones I think are a good introduction to me.

I started a list of practical paradoxes that I have experienced.

I wrote about noticing the sensation of resistance as a solution to resistance.

I wrote about Authenticity, the second core ingredient in my production house's Original Recipeβ„’ creative process.

I wrote about an exercise I did in a course I took a year ago.


Well, it was Easter, but since I still don't have my film processing capabilities yet, the best pictures will sadly have to wait a few weeks. Sorry. Meanwhile, here's an old one of Wendell in the cold sunshine before he suddenly aged 15 years.

Much love PENpals,