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BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL WEB SERIES: Pre-production Never Feels Like I’m Getting Anything Done

May 28, 2015 6:03PM

Follow along as we see how Jake Jarvi engages the nearly 40,000 fans of his web series, PLATOON OF POWER SQUADRONYou can see all of Jake's work at:


The video update below has me engaging in one of those heart-to-heart discussions that sweep through YouTube every so often. It’s absolutely one of my more popular uploads recently with more than 5,000 views instead of the usual 1,500’ish. Makes sense, though. People want to talk about the platform on the platform and a thumbnail that includes popular YouTubers and a title like “A YouTube Talk” is about as click-bait’y as I’ve ever gotten.



As I’ve mentioned in past weeks, we have quite a few sequences in this episode that take a lot of preparation for very little final screen time. Which is fine. They’ve been turning out great and the preparation we put into each set-up really sells each scene. But they require a lot of running around collecting things and I never feel like I’m actually getting anything done.


For me, working on VFX, editing, sound, music, or color correction feels like progress. Then, I feel like I’m actually landing puzzle pieces in place. Instead, tonight I’m taking two dudes down to a costume shop in the city for a costume fitting. Both these guys are doing me a favor playing non-speaking roles on Saturday afternoon, and this is the first time in the show I’ve had to full on rent costumes. We’ve had Carlyn fabricate a few costumes and we’ve done tons of thrift shop costume assembly over the years, but now we’re heading into costume rental territory.


When I’m done with that, I should either take apart an old computer tower to grab some parts from inside as props for Saturday; work on delivering materials to IndieFlix, who is adding PoPS to their stable of content; or work on completing a 15-second VFX shot that I’ve already poured about 5 hours into. Depending on Craig’s schedule though, we might catch a late show of Ex Machina. I’d really like to see it before it’s out of the theaters and I think time is running out. So, you can see how ridiculous I’m still being about wanting to go out to movies when I should be working.


Speaking of Craig, he and Chyna came over last night and we watched about three quarters of the episode. It played better than ever. Craig is always such a great PoPS audience. He’s really into the show and his enthusiasm is completely infectious. He kept saying that it was the best PoPS episode ever, and it really made me want to get this thing done.


And we’re perilously close to doing so. There’s about one minute of screen time left to shoot before we have the entire episode in the hard drive. I know we’re going to do one night of reshoots in our apartment, but after a shoot on Saturday and a shoot on Tuesday night, we have everything we need for a complete rough cut.


Still plugging away.


Thanks for reading.



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May 22, 2015 9:14PM

Follow along as we see how Jake Jarvi engages the nearly 40,000 fans of his web series, PLATOON OF POWER SQUADRONYou can see all of Jake's work at:


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 suggestions.



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 in.


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:



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 reshot.


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 weekend.


Thanks for reading.



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Nextv's music blog - HAIL HAIL ROCK N' ROLL!

May 15, 2015 8:29PM


NexTV's music blog, written by DJ Shark, takes us on a ride through the history of an industry that is inextricably linked to Film and TV.  Listen to Shark's extraordinary show on 

Hail Hail Rock 'n' Roll!

The following is a companion piece to my Rock n Roll Hall o' Fame radio special (link here). Listen while you read on... 

Here in a little more detail is why the following artists are way, way overdue to join the Hall o' Rock.

First things first, Congratulations to this years inductees... 
Bill Withers, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble, Green Day, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Lou Reed, Green Day, Ringo Starr and The "5" Royales.

Here following, may I remind you of some erroneous and in some cases down right embarrassing misses from artists still waiting for their invite... 

KISS were first eligible in 1999 and waited 15 years. Deep Purple are still waiting (after 22 years). And Abba got in before both of them!?! U2, and Nirvana were inducted the first year of eligibility. Sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it is down right head puzzling. 

So now with Nirvana’s well deserved/no brainier, first year eligibility induction last year, we are now about to enter the Grunge era of the early 1990’s. So before we start ringing in Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, Alice In Chains, and Pearl Jam, etc. etc., let’s just take stock and let them all wait a few years, ‘cause the Rock and Roll Hall o' Fame has some long over due catching up to do. 

For your consideration...

Musical Excellence: Crazy Horse • The Mothers of Invention 

When Neil Young was inducted in 1995 he thanked Crazy Horse, saying... “Stand up you guys, I could never have made it without you guys that’s for sure… everybody knows that!” Since Springsteen's E Street Band were inducted in 2014, it's time. Let’s get to it! 

Frank Zappa was inducted in 1995, and he’s a musical genius, but let’s be honest, who the hell could/can play Frank Zappa’s music but one Mother of a band!!! The Hall can figure out who gets in with all the ex- members and permutations (including Zappa's "solo years"), but this list includes such steller talents as Ray Collins, Ike Willis, Don Preston, Ruth and Ian Underwood, George Duke, and the later solo years with Terry Bozzio, and Steve Vai. Outside of the Jazz world, these are hands down, the greatest, most innovative, ground breaking, experimental, and humorous musicians in Rock (period).

METAL: Deep Purple • Motörhead 

Heavy Metal was birthed in England in the late '60's, early 70's. And the undisputed triumvirate of the Heaviest of Rock ‘n’ Roll Gods were Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. They have been eligible for twenty years now and the only one of the three not in yet. Deep Purple were on the nominees short list only twice. N.W.A. have been nominated three times. It's time. But it better be Deep Purple before Soundgarden, etc. etc. (just sayin').

A long shot I know but, It’s frickin’ Lemmy! It’s frickin’ Motörhead! Who rocks!?! You know the answer.

1960’s: The Monkees • Sonny & Cher

The RnR Hall is done pretty good job with all the classic sixties acts, but The Monkees somehow have missed out and really should have been in a long time ago (eligible since 1991). Yes, they were actors cast in a TV Show, but they were also a great band, better than most so called “real bands”. They also had brilliant songs (written by Neil Diamond, Carol King/Louis Goffin among others) and more importantly made brilliant records; From the pure Pop of “I’m A Believer” to Garage-rock classics like “Not Your Steppin’ Stone” (covered by the Sex Pistols) to bubblegum like "A Little Bit Me", to the trippy Psychedlia of “The Porpoise Song” from their surrealistic counter culture movie HEAD. After atrting out being a take off of "Hard Days Night", they then subverted it into nothing less than the experimental roots of MTV! It’s just unfortunate that the RnR Hall didn’t get to this while Davy Jones was still alive, but they absolutely deserve to be there.

If Donna Summer and Madonna can get in, well... Cher is a lifer and let's be honest, has a much more credible and far reaching career then artists half her age. And it would be fitting to induct Sonny as well, as a producer, song- writer and the brains behind the act.

1970’s: Roxy Music • Joe Cocker 

One of the most influential and unique sounding bands ever. Plus, you also get to induct one of the most influential and unique vocalists ever with Mr. Bryan Ferry, but also one of the most influential and unique visionaries ever with Mr. Brian Eno. 

One note, one word, one syllable from his voice and instantly you know it’s Joe Frickin’ Cocker! I'm sure many of you thought he was already in.

1980's: NEW WAVE: Cheap Trick • The Cars • The Cure 

Power Pop at it’s finest and one of the best singers with one of the best live bands ever in the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll. 

Their debut record now sounds like a greatest hits album! Not to mention all the MTV era hits as well. As soon as a Cars song starts you know it’s them, think about that. 

Along with Bauhaus, and Siouxsie & The Banshees, they invented an entire genre. And were truly subversive while also infiltrating popular culture and still sounding like no one else but themselves. With some of the weirdest, darkest and at the same time, fun, upbeat Top 40 hits ever.

ELECTRONICA: Kraftwerk • Depeche Mode • New Order/Joy Division 

The influence of Kraftwerk (eligible since 1995!) cannot be exaggerated. These guys were so far ahead of their time it is staggering. Their International electronic hit 45, "Autobahn" came out back in 1974!?! Not only inspiring an entire genre and every single EDM artist that has followed, their influence is felt with every Synth New Waver, Industrial band, Modern Rock (Coldplay and U2), to Hip-Hop's use of drum machines and synths, they all owe Kraftwerk a huge debt. This is beyond a joke that the Man-Machines are not in yet. Maybe Jann Wenner (Hall president) isn't hip to this thang, but it cannot be put off another year.

A synth band that sells out football stadiums around the world. And they did it more than once. And with some of the weirdest, darkest Top 40 hits ever. After Kraftwerk gets in but how about both in the same year?

The RnR Hall put Faces/Small Faces together (two different lead singers) so it would be appropriate to honour both these influential bands together. Would the original band perform together or pull an embarrassing Blondie ("I have my own bass player") scene? 

ALTERNATIVE: The Smiths • Pixies • The Replacements

Nominated this year, they deserve it for cutting out a unique part of the sonic landscape that belongs to them and only them. Plus, you know Morrissey won’t show up but will write a funny, sarcastic, bitter, dismissive note to his ex-bandmates and everyone else involved. But it better be The Smiths before Pearl Jam, etc. etc. (just sayin').

One of the most influential bands of the late 20th Century. Nirvana owned up to copping their style. Bowie tried to (and failed) with Tin Machine. No one does LOUD-quiet-LOUD like the Pixies. 

Out now by unpopular demand, rocking around America. Something thought impossible just sixteen months ago. Let them take a well deserved victory lap and give them all of The Goo Goo Dolls song writing royalties while we’re at it. 

COUNTRY & WESTERN: Willie Nelson • Dolly Parton • Patsy Cline

I'm sure you thought these Early Country rockers were already in...

He wrote “Crazy”, and “On The Road Again” and it’s Willie Frickin’ Nelson! 

She wrote “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You” and she has her own theme park DOLLYWOOD!  Oh yeah, and it’s Dolly Frickin’ Parton! 

One of the greatest singers of the 20th Century.



A Hugely important band, with Dr. Dre, one of the best producers of the last twenty years. But I will humbly suggest, they can wait a few years. A classic ground breaking debut LP and they followed up with a horrible misogynistic follow up (one "song" has them literally beating up a prostitute). I'm sure behind the scenes, RnR Hall members, Tom Morello and The Roots' Questlove are championing them, they have already been nominated three times!?! They will get in one day but, let's be honest, if Deep Purple and Kraftwerk can wait a decade or more, they sure as hell can too.

2 Pac: 

Eligible next year. Five albums released before his untimely passing and three times as many after. Very prolific, very influential. For his sheer body of work alone, I would rather see him in before NWA.

NON PERFORMER: Wolfman Jack • Tom Wilson • Van Dyke Parks

The legend, watch American Graffitti and know that all of it was true. Wolfman Jack was broadcasting from Mexico with a border busting signal from Midnight to 6AM. Ironically he had rented the dead of night air time from a Christian station that was not broadcasting after Midnight!

Produced Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkle, John Coltrane, The Velvet Underground. Signed Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, I could go on!! Read this instead...

Texas Monthley: The Greatest Producer You Have Never heard...

Producer, Arranger, Lyricist, Film Composer. Asked to join The Byrds, wrote the craziest lyrics ever for Brian Wilson. 

Also For your consideration (also still waiting):
Bad Company
The B-52's
Kate Bush
Nick Cave
Doobie Brothers
Joe Jackson
Jane's Addiction
Los Lobos
Sonny Boy Williamson
Ben E. King
Toots & The Maytels
The Moody Blues
Billy Idol
Iron Maiden
Rickie Lee Jones
Tom Jones
New York Dolls
Nine Inch Nails
Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
Steve Miller Band
Gram Parsons
Warren Zevon
Thin Lizzy
Todd Rungren
Paul Weller/The Jam
Lucinda Williams

And when it is said an done,

After all, It's only Rock 'n' Roll. 

Stay Free


All Time is Now with DJ Shark
Heard 'round the World
For your listening pleasure, 
and to share with your friends,
additional episodes can be found at…

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Being a Good Friend and Why It’s Bad for Your Web Series (Building a Successful Web Series)

May 15, 2015 8:01PM

Follow along as we see how Jake Jarvi engages the nearly 40,000 fans of his web series, PLATOON OF POWER SQUADRONYou can see all of Jake's work at:



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.


Thanks for reading.



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Building a Successful Web Series: We’re going to Austin!

May 7, 2015 2:51PM

Follow along as we see how Jake Jarvi engages the nearly 40,000 fans of his web series, PLATOON OF POWER SQUADRONYou can see all of Jake's work at:


The video below has gotten a slightly higher view count than the video updates typically do because I talk about Avengers: Age of Ultron. The internet LOVES to talk about Avengers: Age of Ultron. And we’re a superpowers channel, so… yeah.


We got into Austin Webfest!

I can’t wait. Couple things. When I was 15 years old, my family moved to Austin and started playing in coffeehouses as a family band. We called ourselves Rhythm ‘N’ the Doghouse, because, obviously, we were the coolest people in the world. Here’s the family playing one of our biggest hits many years later in a dark living room as captured by a cell phone camera. The glowing specter in the mirror is my lovely wife. Probably playing spider solitaire on the computer.

It was one of the most eventful and memorable years of our lives and is often rolled out and reminisced about. That’s when I realized you could completely reinvent yourself if you wanted to. My sister and I went back for a visit in the summer of ’98, but I haven’t been back since. That’s 17 years. I can’t wait to head back for a visit and to check out all of the festivities with Austin Webfest.

Perhaps most exciting of all—The screenings happen at the Alamo Drafthouse, the mecca of movie theaters for genre and revival cinema fans. I’ve been hearing about this place for eons and I can’t wait to see it with my own eyes. And see our faces on their screen. I’m just… SO… excited, you guys. Everything about this. I can’t wait. We’re getting our plane tickets today.

How about a little more catch-up on production days? This episode has a bunch of tiny little scenes in one-off locations that last about an eighth of a page. I’ve talked about the Simpsons-cutaway before. 30 Rock also uses it to great effect. It’s a tiny cutaway scene that’s a nightmare for production but lands really well in the pace and flow of visual storytelling. Usually in service of a joke. So, we have a few of those and that’s pretty much all that’s left to shoot at this point, so I’m trying to line up all those ducks. And shoot them. Poor ducks.

Thursday, April 16—Eliza got off work at 9pm and we booked it down to the city. We shot a one shot scene that took about 20 minutes. Then we shot another one shot scene that took about 15 minutes. Then we got massive slices of pizza and had a beer at the Logan Hardware barcade. It was an easy and fun night.

Satuday, April 25—We drove all the way up to Kenosha to shoot a series of scenes with new actors. We had a whole new group of volunteers helping out, letting us in to their locations, and generally helping us facilitate the day. It was great. It was a ton of fun and we got fantastic footage. The day was full of that “new activity” energy when a group of people are interacting with production for the first time and none of the chore-like aspects have sunk into their mentality. We arrived at 10 a.m and shot ‘til about 5 p.m. before driving home. A great day.

Sunday, April 26-Again, one shot set-ups in locations that take up and eighth of a page each. With a lot of travel. Grocery stores to shoot in are a little difficult to find. Then I called up my favorite produce place, really close to our house and the guy said sure. Just like that. He was like, “Sure, ask for Pete. Take it easy.” That was pretty much the whole conversation. Then we drove down to the loop in Chicago, where the building are tall and the el’ is visible for an impressive looking background. After that we hung out in Millenium Park a bit and had lunch at the original Billy Goat Tavern. It was awesome.

I think we could pack the rest of shooting into one really organized half day. But we’ll probably end up doing it in two semi-organized quarter days for the sake of easy scheduling. Hell, we could do it in three poorly organized hour-long shoots. We’ll just have t see how it lands.

Thanks for reading.



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