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
Thanks for reading.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The video update below features me getting
outside on one of the nicest days of the year so far and talking about
what we like to do when left to our own devices.
I finally did it. Yesterday I achieved the
ultimate dream. I accomplished everything I meant to do all in one day. I
transcribed over 3,500 words of interviews during my work day; read
several chapters of Patton Oswald’s new book Silver Screen Fiend; worked for a half hour on a VFX shot for episode 9; went to the gym and ran 4.6 miles on the treadmill while watching some of Scream 2;
had dinner with my lovely wife; spent another half hour finishing that
VFX shot, thereby completing my daily one-hour quota for PoPS weekday
work time; and watched a whole movie, She’s All That, before going to bed.
The really nice thing is that none of it felt
particularly like I was overextending myself. I felt a little dazed at
the end of all the transcription, but that’s just par for the course.
Nothing makes my brain feel as overheated and mushy as a long, full day
of working with words. Punching the keys for hours and hours is a
different kind of tiring. It never feels better to sit in silence for a
few minutes than after closing the laptop on one of those sessions.
I did a lot, it was a nice balance of have-to-do and want-to-do, and at the end of it I really felt justified in laying down.
I’ve also finally realized that in order to be
productive I have to spend less time on all social media platforms. And
it’s not a simple 1:1 transfer of the time I spend on Twitter could be
spent on making something. It’s the fact that the more I look at all of
the things being accomplished by everybody else, the less motivated I am
to do anything myself. The fact that anything I make will immediately
get lost in the social media shuffle makes me feel like nothing is worth
doing. So, by not looking at it while trying to work, my mind is on the
things I find interesting about this singular part of this particular
project, not how what I’m doing is just another tiny drop in the vast
onslaught of creative content being uploaded to the internet every day.
Process, not product. Exploration, not output.
That’s what I’ve been thinking about this week.