30 November 2006

web of chaos: post-release diary, pt 2 (pro-pro)

Vote for Ian here!

Ian's video is officially entered in the Yahoo! Talent Show. Vote for it and leave a comment! You have through December 1st to do it! I'm using a lot of exclamation points!

I start off my mornings now checking the Talent Show site to see who made it into the "Our Faves" category and who has been featured in the intro video. All day I refresh Ian's profile to watch the total views on the video increment slowly (at last check he was at 242). "Spyder" might be a little more obsessed, taking to heart all comments, both negative and positive. "Why are people wasting their time trying to snipe our video?" he asks. "It's the freaking internet," I say. "It's what they do."

We may have been a little cocky when production started. After taking the necessary workshop I needed at school in order to check out equipment (a light kit and microphones), we convened back at my house where we started to prepare for the shoot starting later that day (Monday the 20th). Our plan was thus: get done with shooting Monday and Tuesday, edit Wednesday and Thursday, upload by Friday. That would give us the weekend for people to vote on it and still an extra week for it to be on the site.

That's when Dad's Garage fell through. I'm not sure what happened but Dana came back and essentially told me it wasn't going to happen since no one was there. So the people that were going to come over for the shoot instead came over for a rehearsal of the "Backstage" scene and I determined I would just find another location by the following night.

By not shooting those scenes at the theatre (almost half the entire content of the video), however, we had to condense all our production time to Tuesday. At the time, we didn't really sweat it. The length of the video had to come under ten minutes and most of the videos we were spoofing were no longer than thirty seconds. How long could these shoots take?

Oh, was I ever so young?

Filming began at 11am at the home of Sean Kiskel, who was to star in our version of the Catch 22 song, a little ditty about the stats one can find about the book Catch 22 on Amazon. The concept: Sean is trying to find the next hit Catch 22 song, stopping in frustration. Ian comes into the room, claiming the song to be old, tired and dead (by his hands). Ian then shows him "something new," leading into a short music video about The Count of Monte Cristo. That shoot went awesome. I got all kinds of coverage, I got to watch Sean fall down a lot and the stuff we shot for the music video was pretty killer. We finished a little behind on time but we still felt good.

Then we headed up to Alpharetta/Roswell for shoots at Rich's house and a local hotel. Rich's place was the site for our parody of Everybody Wants a Panda, featuring Trackside's favorite bartender, Jonathan. The point here was to interrupt Jonathan in his extolling of the non-bears with Ian's claims that he loves pandas more. Then Ian would dive into Brian's collection of stuffed pandas in nothing but a robe and sparkly boxers (that Katie picked out), rolling around and seductively singing the same song. I started running into audio problems here, mostly because I stopped directing and became a spectator. You can barely hear Ian for most of the later part of the segment, not to mention also the light changes for part of it. Stupid sun.

After that it was a wait until 7pm before our actor for the Breakdance scene was off work. Suddenly, I realized the crunch we were going to be in.

[to be continued ... ]

28 November 2006

web of chaos: post-release diary, pt 1 (pre-pro)

Vote for Ian here!

Ian's video is officially entered in the Yahoo! Talent Show. Vote for it and leave a comment! You have through December 1st to do it! I'm using a lot of exclamation points!

In that realm of time that blurs Monday and Tuesday, I tried hard to stay awake. My body was still feeling the ill effects of waking up at 3:50am for work and I was dangerously close to being up for 24 hours. My eyes started to shut on their own, my breathing was heavily supplemented by yawning and my mind started a routine akin to turning off all the lights in a factory: one by one processes started to prepare for quitting time. This bedraggled feeling was well-known to me by now since it was my entire week. Care left me; I was left with no care. Finally, I clicked export and collapsed on my bed, knowing it would take my sweet computer at least and hour to render the nearly ten minute long video.

A little background: a few years ago Ian and I were involved in a contest put on by Bluetorch to choose a new host (in the midst of MTV's VJ contest). You had to rack up a ton of votes online first (viewers voted on contestants' worthiness based on profiles and informal interview), then survive an elimination round before producing your own video. The finalists then took their video with them to California where they lived in a house with other strangers who wanted to be on TV. After being filmed for a week doing all sorts of things (like a far less extreme version of Real World vs Road Rules) and then the producers made their final decision. Ian tested really well but never officially heard any word. Bluetorch filed for bankruptcy.

On the 14th or 16th (I can't really remember anymore) I came across a similar contest put on by Yahoo! -- they call it a Talent Show. I'll spare you of the particulars but people upload whacky videos in hopes the judges will deem them worthy of the grand prize: $50,000 and a show on Yahoo!.

So here we are, doing this all over again for another company (albeit an exponentially larger, more financially stable company) with a more streamlined approach. We're older and wiser (though, as I learned throughout the shoot, a little more grandiose). And with the quality of the videos online already, how can we lose?

After seeing the ad for the Yahoo! Talent Show (pathetically) on MySpace, Ian and I started to plan out the concept: the video would start with the ending of one of his shows, complete with credits, then move on to him being a jerk backstage, a monologue describing his qualities while taunting other contestants, and then finish up with several spoofs of some uploaded videos.

Just before I discovered the contest I saw my buddy Jamie. Just coming from a shoot himself he gave me a phrase in reference to how his friends knew the lingo and generally what to do but only from what they saw on TV and in the movies. It stuck with me throughout my own directorial effort: playing Cowboys and Indians.

I (thought I) planned vigorously. I drew storyboards and compiled prop, cast and locations lists. I pulled my friends to participate, which they did generously for zero dollars and a small bit of a lunch meat platter. I called Dana, who was in the midst of moving out, to see if I could use Dad's Garage as a location (to which Dana received positive replies) and Ian found our other locations. Things were going swimmingly.

I remember reading the script/production diary for π and wondering why Darren Aronofsky said he was having such a hard time with making a movie, dealing with feelings of physical pain brought on by the stress of the production. I didn't wrap my head around the idea and, even as recently as two weeks ago, I still held that stance. Soon, at least on a smaller level, I would completely understand.

[to be continued ... ]

14 November 2006

rent the space under nick.

It behooves Dana to get out of Unit N as soon as possible so we will have her room to rent out very soon. If you need a place to sleep, here are some details:

  • 3 bed/2 bath converted loft
  • Huge general living area
  • Nestled in the party capital of Atlanta: the Virginia Cotton Docks
  • Located less than half a block from the corner of Highland and Sampson near plenty of restaurants ...
    • Johnny's Pizza
    • Roman Lily Cafe (for now)
    • Highland Bakery
    • Zuma
    • P'Cheen (Creative Loafing's pick for Best Neighborhood Bar
  • Live with two handsome devils: Nick and Garrett
  • Located in the Old Fourth Ward
  • Within walking distance from Inman Park, Cabbagetown, Sweet Auburn
  • Within Nick walking distance of: Poncey-Highlands, Midtown, Downtown, Little 5 Points, Candler Park, the Edgewood shopping district and the Virginia-Highlands.
  • $450/month + utilities

We are hoping to find someone we know a little bit first but are open to anyone (dependable) seeking shelter. Drop me a line if you're interested: thatkidnick -at- gmail.com.

10 November 2006

The Gris and the Hani?

One is Gil Grissom from CSI. The other is the prime minister of Palestine. Maybe it's my facial recognition but I think one could stunt double for the other. Think about it, Haniya. If you step down from office in order to re-establish aid to Palestine, what would you do with your time? You could do worse than putting that grimace to work in Vegas.

sono? so? no. so no.

Can we all please agree to completely ignore this trend of SoNo? Seriously.

The area south of North Ave and north of Ralph McGill (Peachtree and Piedmont only) can not dub itself a bastardization of SoHo. I mean, outside of a couple bars (O'Terrill's, Django), the Shakespeare Tavern, Chicken and Waffles, The Civic Center and a Publix, what's this area have to offer that it needs a new stupid name? Nothing. Also, do I need to remind every one that this name is completely stupid? I first saw this on a billboard for a condo development. Now I'm seeing it on the "district guides" scattered throughout downtown. It's completely ridiculous.

So, let's just all try to ignore this foolishness and, maybe, when we turn back around, the pro-SoNo residents will feel shame. My hopes are that this will fade away into nothing more than blips on the City of Atlanta's hopeless branding scheme.

Laugh with me and then ignore it forever: http://www.sonoatlanta.com.
PS: The domain has to be sonoatlanta.com to clarify that it is not one of its predecessors such of SoNo, CT (South Norfolk).

04 November 2006

because there's so much to eat.

I love to get presents. I like giving them, too, but I love to get them, especially when it's something I didn't ask for but really wanted. This might stem from my parents who showered me with affection and gifts; I joke sometimes that my mother showed her love for me by giving me treats (a behavior she still exhibits today with the advent of Amazon.com and the ability to ship). So you would think Christmas and my birthday to be the two brightest days of the year for me. I would, too. There is, however, one day that may shine just as bright or brighter. There is one day when I can eat my fill for free and still hang out and play all day. There is one day when my friends seem to unite in a common cause. That cause: chili. Ladies and gentlemen, the Cabbagetown Chomp and Stomp.

For those that have no idea what I'm talking about: Chomp and Stomp is a festival held on the first Saturday in November in Cabbagetown (that neighborhood between Oakland Cemetery, Reynoldstown, Inman Park and the Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts). The "Stomp" is pretty much for the live bluegrass music and the path of arts and crafts vendors. The "Chomp," though, is why I go. Chomp and Stomp is also a huge chili cook-off.

There are separate competitions between local restaurants and amateurs and winners get bragging rights. There were eight restaurants there this year, I think, but a ton of amateurs, all lined up down the street. $5 gets you a taste of the restaurant chili but amateur delights are free. And, since the corporate sponsored stuff is usually bland at best, it's a good deal.

Joey and I went from one end of the line to the other, only taking two breaks: one because the Metalhead chili was way hot and was ruining our taste for others and the other because we needed to break it up. My buddy Sean Kiskel entered his delicious chocolate chili and, had his chili not been so popular, he would have had enough to feed the judges and win the competition. Sadly, after three batches, the people sopped up his chances. A win in my (and his) book but still.

Rescue Me! Animal Project also had a stand there for animal adoptions so Erica was definitely there. Not to mention Mark, Sarrah, Clif, Kristin, Jenn Bunn, Chris Kirksey and a young man I used to call Revans. There were plenty of others; it's like a melting pot event for all my friends.

Also present was a boy named Mercer. I'd never met Mercer previously but his mother invited me to kick a ball around with her and her son. We kicked it around for a while before his mother said, "I'll be back in like 15 minutes." So, it was Mercer and I for a while, kicking the ball back and forth to each other and to passers by. It was a lot of fun. I totally got into it.

As the sun set and the chili supply dried up, we started making our way back (also we tried to escape the clutches of Erica who was sloppy drunk from God knows how many cups of Sweetwater and tried to embarrass Joey and I to death). I looked back at the park while walking away and smiled. Kristen (from Rescue Me!, not from the recent union to Clif) said it best when she said it was my "special day." It was delicious.

By the way, the chili from Fire on the Mountain was the best of the day to me, no matter who actually won the competition.

I love Chomp and Stomp.