By toddfast on Jan 05, 2007
1. I grew up near Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, USA. When I first moved to the Bay Area, everyone was surprised I didn't have a Texas accent for some reason. Two of my close colleagues are also from Texas. We like to compare boots, though I prefer Kenneth Cole over Tony Llama.
2. The first computer I owned was a Commodore 64, when I was 13 years old. I've always loved computer and console games, so I spent most of my spare time between 1983-84 programming games in BASIC and 6502 assembly. A few years ago, I bought a cable to hook up my old 1541 disk drive to my PC and I imported all my old C64 files as disk images, which I can now run in CCS64 and other Commodore 64 emulators. Pretty interesting to see what the hell I was programming at age 13.
3. When I was 16 years old, I burned most of the skin off my lower left leg and foot while screwing around with some extremely flammable chemicals I "borrowed" from the school's chemistry lab.
4. When I was in college at the University of Texas at Austin, I scored the music for a student film by Robert Rodriguez (director of Spy Kids, Sin City) called Bedhead. Previously, it was only available on the El Mariachi Special Edition DVD. By the way, "bedhead" is a slang term describing someone's messy hair after getting out of bed in the morning.
The short was made for Robert's Film 1 class at the UT Film School. As for my part, I was dating his film partner at the time, and she connected me with Robert. After they heard some of my music, they asked me to score the film. Don't be too hard on me; I only had one 8-bit synthesizer (an Ensoniq ESQ-1, which I still have and play) that could play a maximum of 8 voices at once, and couldn't do drums worth a damn. I worked on this over a long Thanksgiving holiday at my parents house, and then completed it in my dorm room with Robert the weekend after. I did it for free.
Two years after the short made its rounds to film festivals worldwide and won numerous awards, Robert signed a multi-movie deal with one of the big Hollywood studios. Not long after, he called me out of the blue and asked to come by my apartment. We talked for a bit until he asked me how much I'd charge to score another movie like Bedhead. I was humble and uninterested, but after he badgered me awhile I stupidly said, "Oh, 75 bucks.", to which he responded "A minute?". He wrote me a check for $700 bucks on the spot, and asked me to sign a release form (probably for the right to distribute the short, though I don't recall). At the time, I was happy to have such a windfall, but I don't want to think how much I could've actually hit him up for--I'm sure he was worth well over a million at that point, and now look at him.
Of all Robert's films, I like Bedhead the most. I've never really connected with his work on a personal level, though he's certainly talented. At the time it was made, it was a very surprising accomplishment for someone in his early 20s, especially for a first film, even at the UT film school, which was one of the best in the country. Now, YouTube and Blip.tv have shown just how unremarkable that sort of talent at that age has become.
5. In 1997, I inadvertently crashed all of Microsoft's web servers and brought down http://microsoft.com for a few hours. Yes, that Microsoft. And no, I didn't use that on my resume to Sun (but I should have).
Now for my five victims: