As most of you know, I shut down the blog in August. Half to focus on my filmmaking and the Blog for the website for my E-Book. And half because if I didn’t stop blogging about politics, my head would explode, much like John Cassavetes’ head in Brian DePalma’s “The Fury”.
The bad news is that I didn’t get as much writing as I wanted on that blog.
The good news is that I was able to crank out three new shorts. And for those of you who don’t follow me on twitter or don’t go to the other site. (And really, you should. Hint, hint for the future.) Here are the shorts I made.
A Few Minutes with Benjamin Franklin in the 21st Century.
It doesn’t look it but this was the most expensive short I’ve made to date.
Part of it was the Ben Franklin costume which I had to rent from the OSF costume shop.
Part of it is that someone had the bright idea to shoot the short in Lithia Park without taking into consideration the possible sound issues from passing vehicles. Which meant we had to reshoot everything a few days later at the Bellevue Grange.
Which means I had to pay my actors twice!
And I had to pay for dry cleaning the BF costume twice!
As a result, it’s the “Waterworld” of comedy shorts about Benjamin Franklin.
Still, I’m mostly happy with it. I have some issues with the color due to someone using one kind of setting on the camera for one angle and then switching it off while changing the angle and not checking to see if the setting went back to neutral. Which it did.
But I am happy with Michael’s performance. And I’m reasonably happy with the script. It was the first thing I wrote after mom’s death and I was still struggling to drag myself out of my depression. And I was kind of on the fence about it.
But screw it, it is what it is.
A Special Announcement from Santa Claus.
I had met Jeb Livingston at one of the Southern Oregon Film and Media mixers and he had expressed an interest in working with me. So when the idea to do a short about Santa Claus losing his workshop to global warming, it seemed like a good fit.
We shot it in the trailer at his house in Talent in one day. Again, good work by him but because of various issues, the footage came out insanely Orange. And rather then correct the color levels shot by shot, I just said “Fuck it” and slapped on a Black and White filter on to the short and amped up the contrast.
Not quite the look I wanted but screw it. I’m happy with Jeb’s performance and the jokes work.
The Heroes of the War on Christmas: Redux.
As the title suggests, this is a remake of an earlier short I made during my YouTube era. And honestly, it is an improvement over the old version. Apparently, all my shorts benefit from from being shot twice.
That’s going to be a problem when I move into features.
Again, Happy with the script. Did not have to do any tweaking to it this time. (Thank you Fox News.) And having Scott Ford to the opening and closing Voice Over allowed me to do my role without having to resort to the Paul Lynde like voice. (Also, his line reading of “Hey Asshole, Pull up your pants” was the best early Christmas Present I could have gotten.)
Two technical notes.
The reason my scene is all one shot had less to do with Narcissism and more with why I usually don’t appear in these things. I had a take from another angle but I failed to look at it while at the shoot. And when I checked it at home, I found I had shot on my bad side. (And yes, you stinky bitches, I do have a good side. It ain’t a great side but it’s…all right.) Also, the de-noising softwear made my face look so unnaturally smooth, you’d think I was about to ask George Clooney what kind of tree he would be.
The Chainsaw shot. In the original short, I shot two quick angles of Michael Bingham brandishing the Chainsaw while it was running and used one second for each shot. We couldn’t do that this time because that chainsaw went missing and the only one he had was an electric one, So rather then truffle hunt for an extension cord, I simply had him brandish the saw while I walked towards him and then I just speed ramped it in post and laid down a chainsaw sound effect. Thus giving it a pleasantly Sam Raimiesque feel.
So that’s how I spent my downtime away from the blog. It was reasonably productive and I didn’t commit seppuku with a laminated and sharpened copy of “The Nation” so I am calling that a win.
And now if you will forgive the sudden burst of commercial pandering, I do feel the need to point out that all if you follow the videos to their Vimeo pages, they have links to my Tip Jar attached. So if you like them and want to see me make more, please feel free to put some money in the kitty so I can continue to pay my actors and license decent music.