Archive for July, 2011
By this time next week, 3 parts of episode 5 will be live for public scrutiny. I’ve reached the point in post production where I come home from work and go straight into the little office to work on the show. I surface for a meal, and a kiss from my wife, and then go back to PoPS-work until I absolutely have to go to sleep or suffer the entire next day at the work-what-pays-me. This is just how it gets before a release. The only time this kind of bothers me is on Whedon Wednesdays.
Every Wednesday night my wife and I have a few fine folks come over and we watch stuff. It started out with Buffy and Angel screened in the order in which they aired (Our first time doing it that way). The focus on the work of the great Joss Whedon warranted the name Whedon Wedenesday. But lately, because of the release of Burn Notice season 4, we’ve been having Westen Wednesdays, and this week, while a bunch of people that I like sit in the adjoining room having a Whedon Wednesday, I’ll be in the little office having a Work Wednesday. But when the release date is August 1st and it’s July 27th, that’s just how it’s going to be, little series creator. I know, wise interior voice.
My deadline this time is actually a cast and crew screening on Friday night. I got all of the effects shots Ryan was working on from him last night, I’m getting the 3D effects shots from Leo in Germany tonight after work, and I’m also getting the locked scores for Act II and Act III back from Suede tonight before he goes out of town tomorrow. Somehow our composer, Suede, is never in town for the cast and crew screening. Sad times. A lot of cast and crew are turning out to be out of town, so it might be a smaller screening than I thought. Also sad. But I’ll be pleased to see the episode done, and it looks like it just might work out.
Despite my desire to denoise every shot in the episode, the slow-ass denoiser workflow makes that impossible before the launch date. Further more, my fundamental misunderstanding of how to color correct means that even less shots will end up denoised because I have to re-color correct the ENTIRE EPISODE TEASER before the opening credits, which had previously been denoised. Denoised no longer. Sometimes I wish I had some more post production professionals in my inner circle. A dedicated color corrector would be a good person to know and exploit for their talents.
Since I’ve been embedding a lot of extraneous videos lately, here’s one that I thought was just outstanding. Jon Favreau has been conducting Dinner for Five-style–casual, insider, professional-to-professional– interviews with a bunch of the amazing people that he worked with on Cowboys and Aliens.. Not only does it get me more geared up to see Cowboys and Aliens, but listening to two guys I look up to talking about working with the guys that they look up to is just really cool. Especially Favreau’s “…and you were…in it.”
And can I just mention how insane it is that my weekly updates get more views than that video. What’s wrong with everyone? That’s it. I’m mentioning it in this week’s update.
Thanks for reading, guys. Episode 5, coming right up.
I think about the internet and the nature of internet content a lot. Obvo, right? And by and large a lot of stuff that gets passed around and discussed isn’t original. It finds an already devout audience and gives them something fun to link to each other. It’s basically fan-fic (short stories written by fans involving the characters they love, often involving odd romantic pairings; Sawyer and Jack on LOST, Edward and Jacob in Twilight). There’s great stuff like Ironbaby, around the time Ironman 2 gets released. There are spoof songs that take top 40 hits such as “Like a G6” and rewrite it for the Potter-core “Like It’s Quittich.” FreddieW is one of the most subscribed people on YouTube and his videos are amazing and filled with great VFX, but they consist of mostly video game and Star Wars in-jokes. He does fantastic looking live action representations of Mario Kart and Katamari or fun sketchy stuff about Jedis who are a-hole frat boys doing ridiculous things with lightsabers. Speaking of, the sheer amount of lightsaber stuff on YouTube is unbelievable and some of it is really well executed. Ryan vs. Dorkman 2 (story-free lightsaber battles) got enough money to hire a composer and actual orchestra, and Ryan ended up working VFX on Heroes. People want the internet to confirm that other people like the same kinds of things from TV, movies, video games, and books that they like. It’s a lot harder to become one of the things that they like if you originate on the internet. That’s because anybody can do it, and a lot of it isn’t any good. I’d have a much larger following making a show about four super heroes that people already know–Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Black Widow (3 DC and 1 Marvel, I bet I know who’s going to feel left out)—All living in an apartment together, as opposed to 4 unestablished 20-somethings and their quirky rise toward becoming heroes. One of the most rabidly followed web series is Red vs. Blue, which was created using the characters from Halo and hacking the game, manipulating the characters and camera, and adding original dialogue over the top. It’s hilarious and was a brilliantly executed idea. But again, they stood on the shoulders of the Halo zeitgeist and fan fic-ed their way to the bank. Sometimes people even prefer fan fic stuff created by amateurs to those little internet webisodes created using the real actors and sets. There’s a YouTuber called ItsJustSomeRandomGuy who found his viral video niche by doing spoofs of the Mac vs. PC commercials with Marvel vs. DC characters, pitting the characters of the movie franchises that are being released that summer against each other (look at that, combining two independent creative properties—computer commercials and super hero comic book movies—with excellent original dialogue and the kid rakes in millions of views. Dude only edits with iMovie too). His spoofy send up of True Blood vs. Twilight probably saw way more traffic than those weird True Blood webisodes that they bundled onto the season 3 DVDs. Did you watch those? I love the show immensely, but those webisodes were weird. They felt like they were written by the writer’s room intern.
Basically, all I’m saying is that the internet would rather cop established industry content than rally around something new. I’m not even asking them to go that far out of their way. Super powers are awesome no matter how you dice it and our show is solid. It can be a little disheartening.
It reminds me of something cool that Stephen King does though. He does this thing called Dollar Baby Films. A number of his short stories have never had the film rights optioned. So anyone—mostly film students, but I think anyone can do it—can apply to get the rights to adapt them into short film. The cost of the short film rights is 1 dollar, on the condition that it’s never shown for profit. You can put it in film festivals and on your demo reel but that’s it. So a Dollar Baby wouldn’t work if you wanted to get some attention on the internet, but film festival programmers are probably more interested in watching a short film based on material by Stephen King than by Joe Blow the amateur scribe. Stephen King’s so cool. With that in mind, two links this week; the first is a list of all of the stories that can be made into Dollar Babies.
The other is an extremely long interview that the “Paris Review” did with King in 2006. A few years old now, but I just think that guy is really fascinating.
Thanks for reading, everyone.
The last video update featured a YouTube community’s favorite thing: a question that offers them partial control. I titled this video “You Choose” and it had over 3,000 views the first day. Usually, updates get around 1,000 to 2,000 views on the first day and then climb to around 4 or 5K over the course of the week. But not when they get to choose something. It was also one of the few that shot up over a 1,000 comments. The video updates usually get between 400 and 500 comments. So far it looks like people are voting for the “Jarvi classic” (as my wife called it) daily upload option over the weekly upload option.
Since I’ve turned this into a “whatever I’m thinking about” blog, there’s only one thing on my mind at this point in the week (other than working on PoPS, which I’m up to about 3 hours a night now): Tomorrow night at midnight, baby…
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
That’s right. That title gets it’s own paragraph. J.K. Rowling pulled off the thing that every sci-fi/fantasy writer dreams about. She created her own mythology. That and she made a gazillion dollars off of her creation, that’s pretty good too, but it has to take backseat to giving life to a brand new mythology and a cultural touchstone that impacted many generations and means so much to so many people. It’s more than storytelling. This is a legacy that generates more than fans, it generates fanaticism. People brandish Harry Potter books like they wear gang colors. If you’re having trouble making friends in any situation, draw a lightning bolt scar on your head; someone will find you. J.K. also did the impossible against all odds. She took a series that had taken on a life of it’s own in the imaginations of millions and she ended it satisfyingly. At least as far as the books go. Anyone who says differently is missing some imperative piece of their heart. And people who don’t read the books will never understand the power of the movies. The movies only truly work if you’ve read the books. They give you a visual interpretation of a story you already know with much more detail than they can ever put on the screen. The movies are a celebration of the books. They’re a celebration of the characters, stories, and world that we all fell in love with. Tomorrow night is the conclusion of that experience for a lot of us. Harry Potter will never go away, but the release of the last movie closes the door on the core of the original experience. Man, that’s something else. Below is a beautifully constructed look back, thanks to Warner Bros., at the road that we’ve traveled so far.
One last thing—something awesome happened today. My mom called me on my lunch break and said, “Sorry, to bother you at work, but I have to give you a little fame update.”
She had just got off the phone with somebody at the Disney Vacation Club—Most of my childhood vacations found me in Disney World and we’re going again as a family in January. So my mom was making some reservations for us over the phone and she was giving our names. When she said my name, the girl on the other end said, “Wait…Jake Jarvi? Like… Platoon of Power Squadron?”
“Yes! You watch his show?”
“Yeah, I can’t wait for the next episode.”
My mom giggled her way through the telling of this story and I giggled my way through having her tell it to me again. That’s the first time a non-YouTube-gathering situation has resulted in me being recognized. So cool.
Thanks for reading, guys.