This week’s video update includes travel to a
mysterious location and a talk about overblown movie stakes in
blockbusters while walking in the rain.
Well, here we are. We started shooting episode 9 on November 3rd and we had our final night of initial production on June 2nd.
That seems like a long production period. The vast majority of the
episode was shot in November and December and the rest of it was tiny,
little, one-shot cut-aways or one-off scenes with brand new cast in new
locations. But I now have it all. I’ve just got to find the time to put
it together. Let’s recap the final two shoot days.
Saturday, May 30th. The Thursday
night before, I had two of my friends meet me at Chicago Costume Co. to
get fitted for some costumes. On the shoot day itself, it rained all
day, as evidenced by the last video update. So, after calling my
contact, Kyle, to get this facility opened after they’d already closed
due to rain, he met us and we got prepped starting about twenty minutes
late. We shot as fast as we could, trying to keep everything dry with
umbrellas while we shot outside, and we did a pretty decent job of it.
Afterward, we took everybody out for lunch at the Brat Stop in
Wisconsin, as the facility was right on the border.
Tuesday, June 2nd. The final night of
shooting. We were using a friend’s workshop as a location and I had it
all planned to do this green screen compositing effect in the background
of a shot. Then we found out it would be possible to actually hang one
of our actors off of this real motorized hook and move him around. So we
did it. He had to stick his arms through this big furniture strap
hanging off of the hook, basically hanging from his armpits. We could
only do it for a few seconds at a time because that thing actually hurt
quite a bit. I took the ride myself to see what it was like. That
footage will be coming to the episode donors as soon as the episode gets
released. After the shoot, we took the cast and crew to Parson’s
chicken and talked how awesome Mad Max: Fury Road is and how much we miss video store culture.
Yeah. Another episode in the external hard
drive. I know we’ll have one evening of reshoots, but I’d like a full
cut first. Hopefully, I’ll have one within the next couple weeks.
Thanks for reading.
CONGRATULATIONS to the SEMI-FINALISTS for the 2015 NexTV Writing & Pitch Competition.It was another VERY competitive field. We are proud to have so many extraordinary artists participating.
The video below has me acting as carnival barker
and pitchman in the first installment of “If You Like PoPS, You’ll
Like…” And from the sounds of it, people have been digging my
I’ve been cutting on episode 9 for many, many
months now. Last weekend I had the first request from someone to see
something. It was Derrick, the guy who plays our main villain, Damon.
Out of the blue he just asked if he could see something. So he came over
to take a look. It was awesome.
Things that I thought weren’t working worked
like a charm. He was so invested in the scenes as they played, even
without their proper sound mixing and a complete lack of music.
I was already deep into a “let’s get this thing
done” mindset, but that was mostly out of a sense of obligation and a
persistent mental pull that starts to happen when I realize I’m nearing
the end of the rough cut. But watching him watch it re-lit my passion
for the thing. This is a fun episode and it’s time to reel the sucker
Then, the actor who plays Precious, Tommy
Martin, came out for an hour-long shoot with us, after which we had
lunch and watched a large swath of the episode. He seemed more put off
by the unfinished nature of the episode, but his reactions also fueled
the fire, and cued me in to some subtle pacing issues.
On Tuesday, Carlyn, who plays Sebastian, and her boyfriend, Sean, came over for a night of eating pizza and watching The Lost Boys. –SIDE NOTE—
There’s this amazing video edit of the world’s buffest, oiliest saxophone player from The Lost Boys. Someone
re-cut it to make it look like Michael is obsessed with him instead of
with Star. And here, for all of our amusement, is the video:
–DOUBLE SIDE NOTE—
Apparently they say the word “Michael” more than 180 times in The Lost Boys.
There’s one scene where Keifer Sutherland only had two lines of
dialogue; the first line he ended by saying “Michael” in a growly,
creepy way, and the second line he began by saying “Michael” in a
slightly condescending and creepy way. The Lost Boys, man. And watching it on Blu-ray you can see that the dried vampire blood on the Coreys sparkled like glitter in the sun.
Anyway, Carlyn and Sean watched pretty much
everything I had edited so far and it was great. It definitely sealed in
my mind the pieces that had pacing issues and we talked them out a bit.
Of course, Eliza watched it with everyone as
well and it’s always nice to get her read on the episode progress. She
settled me down about certain things that I was thinking needed to be
Last night I buckled down again and edited
another big sequence, but then the program froze and kicked me out. I
lost about an hour of work, but that’s the first time that’s happened
this episode, so I count myself lucky.
We’re heading out of town for Memorial Day
weekend, but I’ve got a couple VFX shots on my laptop I can work on
while we’re away. Obviously, I‘m going to prioritize having fun with
Lize out in the real world and only spend a few hours a day working on
stuff, but it’s nice that I’ll still get a little progress in over the
The video update below features Eliza and I getting jazzed up to attend Austin Webfest.
Before getting into the detriments of
friendship, I want to mention how happy I am whenever an ad for a show I
love shows up as pre-roll on my YouTube videos. It makes me feel like
somehow the algorithms equate our shows, like the audience crosses over.
In reality, it probably just means they’re casting the widest possible
net, but I don’t care, LET ME HAVE THIS! The last time I loaded up the
“We’re Going to Webfest” update, the pre-roll ad was for True Detective season 2. I can’t wait. It just looks so dire and hopeless. I used to get little butterflies in my stomach whenever ads for LOST showed up next to our videos. Ah, the good times, before the LOST finale.
So, we went to a show that our friends were
putting on last weekend and as our friend Kat gave us our tickets—and
our swag feather’y pens—she said, “You guys have been really great at
showing up to stuff lately.” I quickly played back the past few months
in my head and thought—Damn it. She’s right. We’ve been really good
at supporting our friends’ endeavors lately. Shows, album releases,
birthday parties, dinners, movie nights. No wonder we’re so broke all
the time. But what the whole thing really boiled down to was one perfectly crystalized panic package. This episode is never going to get finished if I don’t start staying home more.
Take a look at this video update from exactly
four years ago. From :55 seconds in to the 2:07 mark is a two-angle time
lapse of me sitting in our tiny home office on a weekend and working on
episode 5 for 13 hours.
And that’s just a fraction of the time I need to
spend if I want to get this doggone thing sewn up. Still, last night,
instead of working on VFX for four hours, I worked on VFX for an hour
and a half, shot part of a freelance video project, and went to Mad Max: Fury Road with
my friend Craig. Tonight, I could prioritize episode 9 and get at least
a solid two or three hours of VFX work done. Instead, it’s looking like
I’m going to go to the gym and have some dinner before going to
celebrate my friend David’s birthday at a bar and a midnight screening
of The Room. So…
It’s easier to make a web series if you’re
surrounded by a group of dedicated and like-minded friends. But socially
engaging with that group of friends doesn’t make it easier to get that
episode accomplished in a timely manner.
I hope you guys have a good weekend, and that I have a productive one.