Archive for April, 2014

PoPS video update 204-Camera Phone Clean-up 2014

Posted in Hypothesis the 8th on April 27, 2014 by PoPS blog

Editing Update

Posted in Hypothesis the 8th on April 24, 2014 by PoPS blog

In between all of the traveling and the full day movie marathon this week, I’ve been setting down in the home office and working on the episode. I’ve been trying to work on VFX all throughout the edit so I don’t have a ton of those to do at the end this time. A little more classic-PoPS style. I used to be all about the linear edit. Front to back, dropping in music and VFX as I went, so that the first edit was practically a fine cut. Once I was farming out a certain amount of elements, it just didn’t make sense anymore. Now that I’m starting to bring more of the elements back into my own little home office there’s a lot less waiting for people to feel motivated to work on things and get them back to me. That’s a frustrating little game to play with your free time.

It makes me feel really bad for my actors. They work on this thing forever ago and then have to wait for an eternity to see it all put together. At least I’m intimately connected to the process and can see all the pieces. I can see the progress and feel like something’s happening. They just have to wait. Waiting is the roughest.

I’m finally editing the final act of the episode. On page 65 of the script. Hopefully a week or two away from a full rough cut. Then I need to get a few shots from Ryan (DP and VFX); get a couple actors in for looping, some of our locations and shot setups were NOT conducive to live sound recording this time; work out the music situation, find out what needs new tracks written and recorded, what creative commons/royalty free stuff I need to find, and what themes I’ll be pulling from previous episodes; color correction; a trailer. We’re probably still a little far away from this. I just need to work on it more.

With that, I leave you for this week. I have a lot of work to do.

Thanks for reading, guys.

–Jake

 

Eliza Updates

Posted in Hypothesis the 8th on April 20, 2014 by PoPS blog

Participating in YouTube Tags

Posted in Hypothesis the 8th on April 17, 2014 by PoPS blog

     When I say participating in tags, I don’t mean the buzzwords block of random words you’re supposed to enter for your videos that help people find you when searching for content. I’m talking about the old fashioned game of tag. In YouTube terms it means tagging other YouTubers. Mostly for list videos. Things like-”10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me” or “50 Things in my Room” or “TMI Tag: The Too Much Information Tag.” You do a video on some list topic, and then at the end of it you tag five other YouTubers you’d like to see do it. The tag games are a lot of fun. Everyone loves assembling lists, especially self-referential lists, and tag games are all about introspection. Also, one of the things you hear every YouTuber talk about at least once is, “I don’t know what to make a video about.” That’s the bane of every vloggers existence. The constant need to come up with something to talk about for another video. Always. Tag games are fun, they’re easy, they have a series of rules built into them, they’re introspective, and they’re community oriented.

     When I saw the 5 significant films tag, I thought it was the coolest. It forces you to think about your relationship with movies very differently and examine things that hit you on a level more than critically. It’s really cool and the movies that show up on people’s lists are unexpected and give you an unusual insight into them and their lives. No one tagged me, but I had to do one. Then I issued an invitation for everyone who watched mine to do one and link to it in the comments of my video. Most of the responses have just been people writing their films into the comments, but they don’t explore the reasons nearly as much, they’re just a few titles typed as a column. But, so far, I’ve gotten videos from 4 people. It’s SO AWESOME! I love it. I LOVE IT SO MUCH! The five significant films tag is the coolest. Here are the responses I’ve gotten so far:

     The tags games also help people find your channel. Anyone searching for the tag might come across your video and decide to check out your list since they’re interested in the concept of the tag. It’s part game, part project, part fishing expedition.

Thanks for reading.

–Jake

 

5 Significant Films

Posted in Hypothesis the 8th, Movies on April 13, 2014 by PoPS blog

Speaking with Passion

Posted in Hypothesis the 8th on April 10, 2014 by PoPS blog

     That last video update is one of my favorites again. Like I said, I’d been thinking about doing a camera movement update since I saw the Veronica Mars movie and that was like a month ago. Anytime I take the time to actually formulate my thoughts before doing an update it always rises to the top for me. Of course, those updates are always about movies or video making. If I was to have a real YouTube channel instead of one based primarily around a web series, it would definitely be movie commentary channel. Maybe not like when I did the Cinematic Study Guides…

…because after awhile I didn’t like the idea of telling the entire plot of a movie in 10 minutes. I still think they’d be a fun watch after having seen the movie to get another perspective and some background information—there are other channels and websites that do this well: Good Bad Flicks & Nostalgia Critic—but a lot of my audience was simply watching the study guides instead of the movies and that started to bug me. I always thought they were a lot of fun to do and Eliza and I had a great time watching some of the old movies for it, but they took a day and half to shoot and edit. That’s another part of it. If I have quite a bit to say about a subject and I use clips as examples, they become a whole day affair. For the camera movement one, between finding the clips and editing down 18 minutes of me free-styling my thoughts on moving the camera while referencing notes, it was an all day thing. I didn’t touch one frame of PoPS that day. The Explaining Horror update took a little less time because I referenced way fewer clips, but I still spent very little time on the show that day. But it’s an update I love because I’m talking about something I’m excited about:

     And when I asked people about their favorite updates in the 200th, one subscriber named Jasmine pointed out one that had slipped under my radar of personal favorites, in which I go on an etiquette rant about summer movie season. Having now re-watched it, I think it’s about as entertaining as I’ve ever been in the updates:

     It’s what people want in vlogging. Someone speaking passionately on a subject they’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. Even if it’s a subject to which the viewer devotes very little time, the enthusiasm pulls you in and gets you involved in something that you can tell is important to someone.

     That’s why Film Crit Hulk is such an awesome film reviewer. He passionately advocates for effective storytelling and can eloquently deliver super long tirades on style, technique, and structure that any film fan can relate to and root for. Whether you agree with him or not, you see his point. Someone in the comments of the last update linked a post of his also dedicated to camera movement, particularly the device of long takes. It’s just fantastic:

http://badassdigest.com/2014/02/13/film-crit-hulk-smash-hulk-vs.-tracking-shots/

Thanks for reading.

–Jake

 

PoPS video update 201-On Moving the Camera

Posted in Hypothesis the 8th, Movies on April 6, 2014 by PoPS blog

Four Years of Weekly uploads

Posted in Hypothesis the 8th, Uncategorized on April 3, 2014 by PoPS blog

    I touched on it a little bit in the last update, but I’ve just kept thinking about how 4 years of doing weekly vlogs has changed my life. Not just the quality of the show or my relationship with the internet, both of which have profoundly changed, but my whole life. The same goes for writing these weekly blog posts. I uploaded the first video update on February 14th, 2010 and the first weekly blogpost went up on MyNexTV.com on September 10th, 2010. My first posts were little novellas where I spilled my theories on low-to-no budget web series construction. Some of those notions have changed and been improved upon in the subsequent three and a half years, and production of five more episodes, but I think they still work as a little blueprint for someone who’s interested in starting out down the web series route.

     Perhaps the two biggest additions to that small arsenal of suggestions would be about casting.

     One: Ask to be informed of medical conditions of brand new cast members. We had a guest star go all wonky halfway through one of his two nights on the show. He was just stumble’y and out of it enough that it seemed like he was drugged up. He would mostly respond to direction, but just be a little off. It seemed like he’d stepped away and dosed himself, it came on so fast. We rushed through the rest of shooting, some of which I actually had to maneuver him like a puppet, my hands just out of frame, guiding him to his marks as he semi-slurred his lines. In retrospect, I probably should have called off shooting, but I kept asking him if he was okay and he’d say “Yeah, no problem. I’m fine,” while the rest of us exchanged skeptical glances. Right after wrap I sat him in my car and drove him straight the to train station. I wanted to get him away from the rest of the cast and crew as soon as possible, I thought he was totally riding the Horse or something. I gave him this whole speech about professionalism and working on a set and everything. Found out later that the dude was having a diabetic bottom out. None of us knew he was diabetic. It was awful.

     Two: Don’t do casting sessions over Skype. You need to see how someone does in an unfamiliar room, in front of strangers, with the pressure of a camera rolling. My one episode of Skype castings brought me quite a few great actors and then one or two actors that probably wouldn’t have been cast if I’d read them in a room. Lesson learned.

     But mostly what the last four years of twice weekly uploads has brought me is a deeper understanding of storytelling and a new feeling of satisfaction with independent filmmaking. It forced me to think about filmmaking and the way we tell and consume stories at least twice a week. That’s something I wasn’t previously devoting conscious thought to. Sure, I’d think about the practicalities of production and how I wanted to tell the story of PoPS using a lifetime of subconscious indoctrination through consumption of A LOT of media, but I wasn’t spending as much focused attention on the foundations of storytelling. That’s improved my abilities as a creator immensely.

     Just the act of sitting down and writing to a deadline every week has made it that much easier to just start writing when I’m in front of a keyboard. Less thinking about what I’m going to do, more just doing it. To be fair, that also has to do with it being a large part of my day-job as well. Gotta pack words into sentences and stack them into paragraphs if I wants to get paid. And I do.

     It’s also made me a lot more comfortable talking to other people with aspirations, asking people for help, and finishing what I start. Just the constant act of expressing myself and realizing that everybody else is trying to do their best too.

     Most of all, it helped me stop waiting. My whole life I’ve been waiting for someone to open some door to the industry for me so I could make movies. Even the first five episodes of the show were about trying to knock on that door. Now, I’m much more satisfied in the small victory of being able to tell a lengthy original story with full creative control to a group of people dedicated to watching it. It took me a surprisingly long time to understand what a privilege that is. Listening to podcasts with folks in the Hollywood trenches has probably helped in that regard too. It showed that no matter the level, it’s just going to be hard to get a vision onto the screen. More money, bigger canvas, bigger committee, less control. Watching movies from guys like Wes Anderson, Tarantino, the Coen Brothers, and Paul Thomas Anderson makes you forget that the studio system is primarily about telling stories that other people want told. Guys like Fincher and Spielberg sure make it look good though. I know I won’t ever REALLY stop tapping at that industry door; looking for 310s, 818s, 323s to show up on my caller ID. But these last four years have really helped me stop waiting for the next thing and enjoy the fact that I’m getting to do this thing. It’s been great.

     Also, here’s some fun stuff. These are two fan-made collage videos celebrating character relationships in the show. One about the bromance between my character and Craig’s character. Another about the romance between my character and my wife’s character. That one’s almost weirder because we’re real-life married. I just love so much that this dude spent his own valuable time making fan videos for our show:

     YouTube user SarubE005 is super cool for doing those.

Thanks for reading.

–Jake