Archive for March, 2013

Keeping People Engaged

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on March 27, 2013 by PoPS blog

Once you’ve gathered a decent number of people to your internet presence there’s an awful lot of thought that goes into keeping them engaged. The view counts on my PoPS updates were pretty low, so I devised the Cinematic Study Guide as a method of appealing to a larger number of movie enthusiasts. At the beginning it looked like it was going to work out, but the numbers have already dropped again, so either nobody’s interested in The Croods, or the Study Guides are not the droids I’m looking for.

Probably the best our interactivity got was inviting everyone to draw pictures of the Donald character for a sequence in episode 7. A lot of great pictures came in, people were rallying to the cause of the show, and the artwork looks fantastic in the episode, as everyone will see…someday.

With the Veronica Mars movie dominating Kickstarter, they had a great idea for audience engagement on their YouTube channel. They asked everyone to send in different interpretations of the VMars opening theme song, a cut down version of “We Used to Be Friends” by the Dandy Warhols. They’re selecting the ones they like the best and putting them on their channel. It spurs talented people who love VMars to draw the attention of their friends, families, and extended online networks back to the VMars campaign, the new YouTube channel, and the project as a whole. Here’s the original season 1 opening followed by three of the  interpretations that have come in. The third is a version by my sister Emi and she sent me the clips of her singing into the microphone so I could put the video together.

In other news, these Cinematic Study Guides have been killing my post production time on PoPS. I’ve started putting them together mid-week so that I’d have the uninterrupted weekend hours to get down with the rotoscoping. After about 16 hours of rotoscoping, and several bad cases of roto-hand, I completed yet another shot for the episode. Just one brick at a time, one foot in front of the other, Rome wasn’t built in a day, idle hands are the devil’s roto, and other such wisdoms.

Added to that, this weekend is LA Webfest! Eliza and I are heading out to LA on Friday so I had to get the Study Guide for this weekend done extra early. If anyone who reads this happens to live in LA and wants to come say hi, tickets are cheap. We’re screening in a block of four shows at 8pm on Saturday at the LAX Radisson. The whole show lasts an hour and if you come by, be sure to come introduce yourself. I’ll give you a shiny PoPS pin.

In addition to getting the Study Guide done early, I made a 20’ish-minute video for an event the weekend after we get back. It basically outlines what life is like for an independent content creator, what I have to put into a show like ours, and what I look for in collaborators. But with all these longer videos I’ve been editing of myself talking, I have to say, I have had it with watching myself. I thought the day would never come when I’d get sick of listening to myself talk, but I sure hit the wall this week. I long for the blessed trance-state of video game playing and the nurturing solace of pizza.

Thanks for reading.


Family Road Trip Study Guide/The Croods vs. The Wizard

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on March 24, 2013 by PoPS blog

Internet Pacing

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on March 21, 2013 by PoPS blog

I’ve been watching a lot of older movies recently. Partially for the Cinematic Study Guide that I’ve been doing and then there was that 24-hour Sci-Fi festival we went to. It’s just amazing how quickly movie pacing has changed. It used to be perfectly acceptable to have long quiet buildups in movies. Sure, independent films still have a go at the contemplative build, but mostly it makes me feel like the filmmaker doesn’t know how to move their story forward. I know people who love it, but I mostly sit in those kinds of movies feeling like my time is being wasted.

I think the internet is partially to blame for that too. One of the tenets of filmmaking back when I was in film school was to establish your story in the first 11 minutes. The internet video rule of thumb is to explain what you’re about in the first 10 seconds. That’s why vlogs, viral videos, reviews, and sketches have a better shot on YouTube than any web series. Most people making web series are following the old school traditions of pacing and tone, people sitting at a computer want to be entertained immediately, and if you can’t do it, they can sure as hell find something else that can right now. This second. That’s why episode 5, part 1 of Platoon of Power Squadron makes a better intro to the show than anything else. It emulates a familiar superhero conceit, it’s moving right away, and it barely slows down the whole time. New information piling on top of new information. That seems to be how the internet likes its info. Immediately and lots.

So pacing is at a weird place right now, people making shows or short films for the internet want to move at a film and TV pace, but the internet doesn’t like to move that slowly. 10 seconds. I suppose that’s like the old adage for beginning a novel: You have to hook them with your first line. That’s why so many of the smash hit internet short films are plays on video games. You buy yourself more than 10 seconds if people are already invested in your concept.

Thanks for reading.


Movie Magicians Study Guide/Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on March 17, 2013 by PoPS blog

The Best Time for Content Creators

Posted in Movies on March 13, 2013 by PoPS blog

Today, Rob Thomas, the creator and show runner for Veronica Mars, posted a Kickstarter campaign for a Veronica Mars movie. It’s a project that he’d shopped around town since the cancellation of the show 5 years ago. It was getting no traction whatsoever. They low-balled the budget at 2 million dollars and a couple hours after launching the campaign they’d already cleared the 1 million mark. We’ll see how much they end up raising in the next 30 days, but I can tell you this much, it’ll include as big a donation as I can manage. Now sure, this campaign has the publicity advantage of reviving a project that had 3 years of appearing on actual television and all the publicity money that entails. Not to mention the push every time one of the seasons went to DVD. But the fact that a group of people can turn to their audience and get a studio-denied project off the ground on the goodwill and financing of their audience is unbelievably exciting to me. They played their campaign video perfectly too, showing us the characters we’ve been missing interacting just like old times. This thing has been blowing up all over social media, here’s the url to their campaign, and the campaign video:

In other creators-with-an-audience-can-do-whatever-they-want news, the trailer for Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing dropped this week too. The fact that Whedon follows up one the biggest summer blockbuster’s ever with a black and white Shakespeare adaptation that he shot in his backyard in 12 days? What kind of amazing world is this? Check it out:

It’s the best time to be making stuff.


Oz Study Guide/Oz the Great and Powerful

Posted in Cinematic Study Guide, Hypothesis the 7th on March 10, 2013 by PoPS blog

Chipping Away

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on March 7, 2013 by PoPS blog

I’m still working on VFX. At the end of this week’s Cinematic Study Guide I said I had 20 VFX shots completed. Someone in the comments justifiably asked, “Out of how many total?” I hadn’t taken the time to add them up yet, mostly because it was a matter of going through exported layers and figuring out how many were going to go into each shot. Basically, I’m just saying it wasn’t as simple as counting. So I took a few minutes and added it up. 56 VFX shots total. Since last weekend I’ve gotten a few more done and now have 25 complete. 31 left to go and then we’ll dive into ADR, music, sound effects, and color correction. Not a lot of fascinating stuff going on right now. Just chipping away at what needs doing.

This weekend is the Sci-Fi Spectacular. 24 hours of awesome sci-fi/fantasy/horror flicks. I’m going to try and make it for all 24 hours. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In other news, it’s my lovely wife’s birthday today. If you want to check in with her, visit her knitting/fashion/decorating blog at She’s a much more frequent and better blogger than myself.

Thanks for reading.