We wrapped shooting for the episode last night, which is awesome! But after work tonight I came home and went straight into editing, completely forgetting to write a blog entry for this week. The good news is that i finished a better-than-rough draft of the five and a half minute pre-title card teaser of the episode. The bad news is that I’m beat. I’ve been sitting in front of a computer for too many hours today. I’m gonna go have some orange juice and watch something before going to bed and doing it all again tomorrow. Sorry it’s so short this week. Next week will be back to normal.
Archive for April, 2011
I’m not talking about the search for personal identity. Trying to do that on the internet would probably result in some kind of suicide pact. I’m talking about googling yourself. Anyone who says they don’t google themselves is lying. Unless they’re too cool to “google” and instead they “yahoo” or “bing” themselves like a bunch of hipsters. But now that PoPS has been around for a couple of years (or I guess October will be the actual 2 year anniversary of uploading episode 1), it has started to get a little bit of a life of its own on the internet. People other than myself and my friends, otherwise known as total strangers, are putting their own time and energy into thinking about the show and it’s starting to pop up in various places.
The first and most obvious place for stuff to start appearing was on the PoPS Facebook page. It arrived in the form of “fan art” such as these:
When we got that first one, I was so excited that I wrote a huge email to the girl who drew it, going crazy about how awesome I thought it was. I went totally fan boy on her fan art. My wife loved it too, especially as someone who enjoyed looking at fanfic and fan art for shows and manga that she liked as an adolescent. She liked it so much that she knit the hat that the girl drew her wearing. My mom even framed it for us. That’s EXACTLY how lame we are. We went absolutely fan crazy over our fan art. I use the “me” from the second one as my Twitter avatar and the “me” from the third one as my Gmail avatar.
Shortly after the fan art started, someone put PoPS in the TV Tropes wiki website and catalogued some of the common TV tropes that are used in the series. Here’s a link to the PoPS page on TV Tropes:
I personally like the “limited wardrobe” trope; maybe because I like the presence of the words “For some unexplained reason…” appearing in any summation of my work. I have no idea why that would be.
Please excuse the language in this next one, but I didn’t create it. It’s a page on tumblr that’s called Fuck Yeah Platoon of Power Squadron. The coolest/strangest things on it are the screen grabs with the lines of dialogue subtitled in comic book style. Like this:
I absolutely love it. It’s like seeing snapshots of dialogue I wrote that someone connected with in a tangible way. The fact that people I’ve never met spent that kind of time thinking about the show and commemorating a part of it is outstanding. Here’s a link to the site:
The last one is the strangest and whenever I show people they think it’s hysterical. It’s another tumblr page called Smug Jake Jarvi where someone is generating memes of me with select quotes from the video updates surrounding my face. This one is my friend Evangeline’s favorite:
There are a bunch of these, most of my favorites can be found under the archives tab. I don’t know what possessed someone to do this, but I think it’s fantastic and I’m absolutely flattered to be an internet meme for smugness:
I’d love to hear about anything strange and wonderful people have found when googling themselves.
Until next week, thanks for reading.
We’ve pretty much passed through the eye of the storm at this point on episode 5. I think that might be a misuse of that metaphor, but I soldier on. There are three shoot nights left. One is locked down for Monday and it’s the last shoot night for Eliza, Carlyn, and myself as actors. The other 2 are a little more fluid. One we still have to reschedule, but I need to wait to hear back about the availability of an actress. The other is a little ridiculous. We essentially need to get three tiny inserts of an actress arriving at a house. That entire shoot night is going to account for maybe two seconds of screen time at the most. Regardless, we need to get down to the city, get her into her costume, light 3 different tiny locations, and shoot 3 shots that in and of themselves will be about 2 seconds a piece to make up the final 3-shot, 2-second sequence. I think “The Simpsons” is largely responsible for that. Given the fact that it was animation, they started the whole “jump to a completely different location for a 3-second cutaway” thing. It didn’t make much difference to a background animator, ink and paint is ink and paint. All sorts of live action shows and movies do it now, because it’s become an integral part of the language of shooting and editing comedy, but it’s a completely different beast when you have to do an entire production move and dress a completely new location so the audience can be transported for 2 seconds. Forged in animation, bequeathed to the sleepless nights of Unit Production Managers everywhere. You see it done a lot in “Spaced” and “30 Rock;” Liz Lemon will have a line about “Who came up with that awful title?” and for 3 seconds we’ll cut to a location we’ve NEVER seen before or since where the two writers are coming up with the title and we find out they’re whacked on cocaine. Hilarious? Yes. Production nightmare? Also yes. Worth it? Definitely. Partially because the oldest motion picture credo of “show don’t tell” applies across the board if you can manage it. It’s just good visual storytelling. Unfortunately, the shoots where you have the least to do sometimes inexplicably take the longest; I really don’t know how to explain it. It’s probably just the “this’ll be a breeze” mindset that ends up making the team move more slowly.
Speaking of mindsets, with the hardest shoot days now behind us, I’m starting to feel a little more like myself again. My thought processes are once again returning to that of a normal, functional human being. I gotta say. It’s nice to be back.
The video below took place after I had my production epiphany for episode 5. For me that’s the moment when you capture something so perfect and wonderful that it doesn’t matter how hard production is, it’s all worth it. Ep5 has been such a roller coaster of complications and victories that it’s hard to know where I stand at any given moment, but I do know that as tired as I was in the video below, I was genuinely happy and excited about how things were going.
Let’s pick up where we left off last week. I said that the 38-setup intro sequence we were shooting last week was going to be the most technically difficult of the shoot. That’s probably true, but we got it all and the footage is amazing. We even had a massive scheduling miscommunication resulting in me sitting on the ground and re-organizing the entire sequence shooting schedule in a couple minutes, the destruction of our one professional light, a misunderstood medical emergency resulting in me having to essentially puppeteer one of our actors, and we still finished an hour ahead of schedule.
We got our crane shots:
The title of the post this week is in reference to a comment someone left on our production blog. For weeks I’ve been talking about all the complications that have arisen and how we’ve been dealing with them and carrying on. This person said, “Don’t let perfection stand in the way of execution.” That is staggeringly good advice and we’ve been very good about following it. If we were waiting for perfection, we’d still be sitting at the starting line. We have had the entire scope of human drama stop scheduled shoot days for episode 5; I’m not even exaggerating right now, our current list of reasons for rescheduling includes a birthday and a death. We’ve pushed ourselves so hard and fast that several of us woke up the next morning feeling like someone had beaten us in our sleep with a sack full of bitterness. Locations gone, offers of help rescinded, actors dropping out or suddenly incapacitated. I realize that I might sound like I’m complaining again, but I’m actually chuckling as I type this. Everything has tried to kill Ep5, but we’re still on our feet and so far the footage we’ve gotten puts every other episode to shame. I don’t know if I’m tempting fate right now, but we’re going to get through this, and Ep5 is going to be outstanding.
My general thoughts on the issue of perfection versus execution is that if you want to turn your idea into anything tangible you have to set your sights on execution every time. The only time your project is perfect is as a pure and unsoiled concept. The only way to actually force it into reality as a tangible thing is through a series of limitation-imposed compromises. But if you can roll with the punches, you have a great group of people working with you, and you work as hard as you possibly can, you can still achieve something closer to perfection than you ever imagined. That’s probably why I’m still doing this.