Archive for the Hypothesis the 9th Category

PoPS video update 236-New Mexico

Posted in Hypothesis the 9th on December 21, 2014 by PoPS blog


Half the Episode Shot

Posted in Hypothesis the 9th on December 4, 2014 by PoPS blog

After shooting last night we have wrapped the largest location in the episode and have shot very close to half the episode. 42 pages down. That’s a lot of road. Let’s do some shoot day recaps.

Sunday, November 30, 5pm-12am. This was a day for making up a lot of little scenes that we had to grab in each room of our apartment. I’ve been designing a lot of shots to hold as many characters in a frame as possible this episode. Really driving home the groups of people that exist in the show, that they’re connected, and how they relate to each other. It’s been a fun exercise in seeing our apartment in a lot of different ways as well. It’s a pretty small space, and I’ve been trying like all-get-out to vary the ways we see it. We paused for a Chinese food dinner around 7:15 and then kept plugging away. We wrapped most of the cast around 11 and then kept shooting for an hour to pick up some inserts that I’ve been pushing back for time since shoot day 3. Then a couple of us sat around talking about relationships and past roommates. It was a great chill way to wrap up a long day.

Tuesday, December 2, 7pm-11pm. Roti Meditteranean Grill for dinner. Friggin’ tasty. Back on November 3, when we started shooting the episode, Eliza and I saw how we looked in the behind the scenes footage compared to how we looked in a video update 4 years ago. We finally decided to take some drastic measures. Over the last month we’ve been avoiding bread, cheese, and pasta, and severely limiting our sugar intake. It’s made a noticeable difference. It’s hard to get to the gym when production is underway because of all the planning that surrounds the nights we’re not shooting, but we also push ourselves on the nights we can make it to the gym. In another month—including some of the weight fluctuation damage the holiday season can do—we’ll be at a point where we can figure out how to maintain instead of actively dropping weight. I know my first celebration dish is going to be pizza. However, this last month has shown the delicious variety of meals you can make with meats and vegetables. Lots. Back to production…

I had been dreading this night. There were enough things we were trying to do that we hadn’t done before and I was just hoping it would all go smoothly. It did. The stuff I had theories on how to do, but we had never done, other people brought great ideas to and helped us execute them smoothly. A shot that I thought may take forever to get properly, Ryan and Chris nailed in one take. I had a stand-in oversight where we needed an extra person to double for a character in one shot and I hadn’t planned for it. A major oversight like that is a big rarity for me and I was trying to figure out how to change the shot. Right when we got to it on the shotlist, an actor showed up with a friend in tow who happened to be the same height and build as the double we needed and she was willing to help out. It was AMAZING. We got our whole shotlist by just after 11. Twenty four setups in 4 hours.

Wednesday, December 3, 7pm-11pm. My mom’s brithday. Also,  the last shoot night in our biggest location and there were 22 setups left in the most complex action sequence in the episode. It was our 10th shoot night of episode 9, but we all agreed that it felt like a lot longer. Maybe it’s being in one location for a month. Counting our actual production hours, that’s approximately 45 hours spent shooting in that location in November. Granted, that’s only 4 and half real-length production days, but for this nights and weekends production it felt like a long one. For the previous 9 shoot days, we’d been eating from a variety of places with relatively healthy options, but I wanted to celebrate the last night of this location with a tried-and-true PoPS production meal. Frozen pizzas. A staple of PoPS production since 2009. This was super tempting, as pizza in all forms is one of my most revered foods, but Eliza and I stuck to salad we ordered from a pizza place down the street. The irony of ordering salad from an excellent pizza place and getting pizzas from the freezer section was not lost on me. Around 7:15, we started checking off shots and wrapped just a little before 11. Checking off cool action shots is so much more invigorating for the assembled crew than long dialogue scenes. We hung out for a few minutes and everybody headed home just before midnight. It was a great time and it feels amazing to have so much of the episode shot.

Now we have a couple of nights before diving into weekend shoots in a whole new location. I have five’ish shoot nights left before we start Christmas break and by then, if everything goes according to schedule, we’ll have a vast majority of the episode sitting in a hard drive. And backed up in another hard drive.

Thanks for reading.


PoPS 9 Week 2-Big Production Week

Posted in Hypothesis the 9th on November 20, 2014 by PoPS blog

Ordinarily, we try to limit nights & weekends shooting to two weeknights and a weekend day. Three nights a week is a manageable production schedule for people with full time jobs. This week, however, due to the way actors schedules are all lined up, we did five shoot nights. Let’s break it down.

Monday, November 10, 7pm-11:30pm. I continued the trend of offering people who want to show up a half hour early a free dinner and we’ve been ordering from places that are between where I work and our apartment so I can grab it on the way home. That night we had Chipotle. We were shooting a lot of scenes were Carlyn has to play opposite herself, so we had Eliza in a wig for the over-the-shoulders and only about four shots where we had to lock down the camera to have her change outfits to play both characters in the same shot. I color-coded the shotlist at Eliza’s suggestion, which was a brilliant idea. That way we were able to shoot most of one outfit, then the other, and it really saved us a lot of time where the girls would have to be changing. It was a little stop-and-start feeling because of all the back and forth we were doing with her playing both characters. Given some of the complicated things we were dealing with, I’m surprised we only ran a half hour late. A good shoot night.

Tuesday, November 11, 7pm-10pm. Started the night off with some Chinese food from right down the street from our place. Awesome portions for the price, I had lunch the next day too. This night was all of the scenes that take place in our tiny bathroom. There weren’t a lot, so we wrapped quite early. Originally I had this shoot double booked with another block of scenes, but when Craig had to go out of town for work, we were shuffling to grab any scenes we could shoot in the apartment that didn’t have him in them.

Wednesday, November 12, 7pm-11pm. Soups, salads, and sandwiches from Panera. We started by picking up a couple of things from our first night of shooting. A shot of an actor who wears very reflective sunglasses, this time without catching our director of photography in the reflection. And the really hard Glidecam shot. I finally had to settle for getting most of it in the Glidecam and then cutting to a wide for the resolution of the scene. The integrity of what I wanted to see is still intact and I’m using an inline edit with the wide to really jar the viewer into the changing situation. Then we moved on into the bulk of the pages in the apartment and shut it down at 11pm, since we were at a good stopping point and we were going to be in the same space for two more nights.

Friday, November 13, 7pm-11pm. Chipotle again. This time for two reasons, 1: It’s delicious. 2: They have an awesome online group ordering system where everybody can order their own thing from their own computer and I just pay for it once everybody’s orders are in. This was a tough night. I’ve had a couple times when I’ve been frustrated on set because of various factors. This was one such occasion. Since a lot of this episode takes place in the main characters’ apartment, I wanted to try and keep things visually interesting with some good camera moves. Unfortunately, they’re really hard to get in our small space and the rolling of the dolly is very VERY audible on the largely creaky wooden floors of our apartment. After many many takes of one of these tracking shots, I finally scrapped it, but I was obviously frustrated and settling for less than I wanted. That’s a real mood-killer on a no budget set. So we moved on and wrapped halfheartedly at 11. This might be a good time to mention that despite my frustrations, we have a great group of actors who are doing an amazing job. Some new people are exceeding my expectations, and all the old standbys are really going for it and embodying their characters. As far as crew goes, people are trying to work us in to their very busy schedules as much as possible and splitting up different nights so that we at least have one of the core people available for crewing. There are just a lot of projects going on in our group now and PoPS isn’t anyone’s first priority anymore. Still, we soldier on. Not to mention the amazing people we’ve had volunteering for the first time. It slows us down a little bit with people having to learn a new skill set every night, suddenly put in positions of very high priority. I think we’ve taught four new people how to operate sound when they appear on our set for the first time so far. It’s just really nice that people are willing to come help us out.

Saturday, November 14. 5pm-11pm. Since it was Saturday, we could start as soon as it got dark and I delayed dinner until about halfway through the night. This was a miracle night. So far in production, we’d only had two nights where we’d gotten everything on the shooting list. In order to get back on schedule, we had to shoot about 13 pages of dialogue in 6 hours. It was about 2 and a half pages of camera setups. After the tracking shot problems of the night before, I woke up Saturday morning determined to cut out all the tracking shots from my shotlist and replace them with meaningful pans, racking focus, and mid-dialogue edits, thereby still heightening the experience and drawing audience attention to relationships and important moments, but without all the never-ending frustration of attempting tracking shots in our apartment with brand new crew members. We hit the ground running just after 5:30pm, paused for a dinner from Noodles and Co. just after 8pm, and wrapped up everything we had scheduled pretty much at 11pm exactly. And just like that, we’re back on schedule. It was awesome. Everyone was really worn out by the end of the night, but everyone perked up nicely whenever the camera was pointed at them, so we were able to get 13 pages in 6 hours.

Eliza and I planned to grab one little shoot night this week with Carlyn in the city—a quick 10-second scene that would only take a half hour to shoot—but I came down with a mega cold. Luckily, it’s stayed out of my brain so far, so I can still work and plan and everything, but it’s nothing I want to take with me into a night shoot for even a half hour. I think I’d only get sicker.

So we’re down for a week before we get another shoot night, but it’s a nice little section of calm in the middle of the storm.

Thanks for reading.


The Procrastination Effect

Posted in Hypothesis the 9th on October 16, 2014 by PoPS blog

The last couple of episodes have been spurred into production by different factors of actors’ schedules, weather, or something out of my control that I’m trying to get ahead of. It’s always been about beating some kind of exterior force. So, before I even know it we’re just in production. This time, however, do to locations and actors schedules, we couldn’t beat it, I had to re-write, and the deadline I’m trying to beat is much farther away. It gave me a couple of moments to breathe and it brought back something I had long forgotten: In my heart, I’m a procrastinator. [SCARE CHORD!]

Did that scare chord get you? I know jump scares are cheap theatrics, but it’s almost Halloween. Get into the spirit, yeah?

What I mean by that is prior to the last few episodes of beat the clock, there’s always been a time right after the money is raised where I haven’t put the schedule together. There a span of time where I put of the scheduling because I know how busy I’m going to get as soon as the schedules in place. Once the schedule is in place and sent out, the production train is moving and it’s up to us to get everything into place in time to keep up with it. Production is exhausting. There’s an exhilarating energy to it, but it’s also an endless series of fires that need putting out. We need to assemble, plan, and provide everything we want to appear on screen. I’m not someone who ends up on set and goes, “Oh, yeah. We’re supposed to have a gun for this scene. Does anyone have a gun nearby?” or “I was hoping to have some fake wound makeup here, can someone drive an hour and buy some?” or “I was thinking this scene would be better with a crane up. Does anyone have a crane in their car?” I always know what I want to see and I want to make sure I can get it, so it’s all planning, buying, assembling, shooting, planning, buying, assembling, shooting, planning… You get it. It’s a lot. And it lasts a few months.

So, now that the ticking clock is a little farther out, I find that old bit o’ procrastination kicking in. I totally forgot it existed. I’ve been fighting it, and the time for scheduling is finally upon us.

Celtx (screenwriting software) doesn’t calculate eighths of a page automatically, which is what I use to determine the amount of days on our schedule, so I’ve been calculating eighths for the last couple evenings. Now that I’m almost done with that, I’ll have no more excuses not to put the days on the calendar and get to shooting. So…

Here we go.


Our 7 Cool Posters So Far

Posted in Hypothesis the 9th on October 2, 2014 by PoPS blog

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Internet Fishing

Posted in Hypothesis the 9th on October 2, 2014 by PoPS blog

Our fundraising campaign has gone really well, and whether we hit the goal or not, the amount of support I’ve felt coming our way has been amazing. Here are a few of the campaign videos that have gone up over the last week:

And speaking of support, every once in a while I think to google “platoon of power squadron” and I find a bunch of great things that are just inspiration boosters on tumblr. Like gifs people make:


“Donald being a badass in episode 8.” – lunar-alienism

I especially love it when they grab screencaps of the show and add words to them. It’s like a clue into what parts of the show are really connecting with people. And the things they write to accompany the images are SO NICE!


“I have yet to introduce someone to PoPS who hasn’t fell in love with the show (OK, not true, one guy just thoroughly enjoyed it), but even if it is not your jam, I implore you to at least check these guys out and consider supporting them on the grounds that they are a bunch of hardworking, insanely creative, good people that are helping to lead a revolution in how we share our stories.” – thelynchieconjecture


“Platoon of Power Squadron is really great webseries I’ve been watching for the last four or five years.  It’s inspired the webseries I’ve been working on for the last year or two, and it has just been getting better and better with every episode.  Jake Jarvi, the guy who writes, produces, and stars in it, is kind of my favorite non-famous famous person in the history of ever.” – songofsarcasm

Like…right? When you go internet fishing, sometimes you find stuff that makes your day.

And here’s a link to the Indiegogo campaign for the final hours:

Thanks for reading.


Retreat, Recalibrate

Posted in Hypothesis the 9th on September 18, 2014 by PoPS blog

It has been a week of ups and downs, you guys. Serious ups and downs. After the disappointment on Friday of not advancing in Project Greenlight, I was deep in planning mode trying to get ready for the upcoming shoots on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. I was having a hard time getting my hands on fake guns that look legit, but I had my shot-listing done for the 16 pages we were going to shoot and was starting to call the actors for brief one-on-ones about their characters.

Then I got the call. Like I said in the above update video I got a call about a catastrophic location debacle. Not a we-need-to-schedule-this-for-another-time call, a it-would-be-great-if-we-never-dealt-with-this-location-owner-ever-again call. I spent the day trying to figure out how to keep the scenes essentially the same in a new location, but was having a really rough time. Luckily, my wife is a super story editor as well as a producer and she helped me come up with some interesting alternative ideas. So, I started rewriting. And I will continue to keep rewriting tonight. One of the main storylines of the episode needs to be re-worked about 30 to 40 percent and a lot of location justification needs to be threaded in. But I’ll figure it out. It was just a tough pill to swallow on top of everything else.

Luckily, it’s also been an amazing week. My friends Craig and Chyna got enganged! And he proposed to her in his 1,000th YouTube video where he revealed he’d been working on the proposal for weeks. Then the video went viral. His first real viral video. As I type this it’s got 1.3 million views and it keeps collecting more as sites like huffingtonpost do more “YouTuber Proposes in 1,000th Video” posts. So amazing. Here’s the proposal:

So amazing.