Sunday, February 28, 2010

Movies Recently Watched

by Chris McGinty

Let me start by saying that Nathan didn’t need to justify painting his house as blog material, because selling the house is on his next ten week goal list. So he can write a blog about me coming over and scuffing his floors with the soles of my shoes if he wants.

I helped some friends move about three weeks ago, and they did a dinner and movie night last night in thank you. Home cooked meal and a couple of rented horror movie. My idea of a fun time for sure.

I figured I could do some quick reviews.

First of all a few weeks ago I watched “Finding Forrester” with Sean Connery. I really liked this movie. It was a “school movie” if you know what I mean by that. All about the interplay between student and the teacher that seems to have it out for student, but I think they did it well. Sean Connery plays a writer, based on JD Salinger I think, who meets and underprivileged kid who shows a high aptitude for writing. They bond, of course, and each faces personal challenges. If I have any complaint about the movie it’s that they didn’t showcase the craft of writing enough. I loved the scenes where they were discussing it on some level. One of my favourite parts was when Sean Connery sits down and just starts typing a mile a minute. He tells Jamal (played by Rob Brown) to start writing. Jamal tells him that he’s thinking. And I pulled this exact quote from “No thinking - that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is... to write, not to think!”

I watched “Legends of the Fall” recently. For as much as I like Brad Pitt, I’d never managed to see this one. I’ll be honest. I’m more about his edgier roles, but this was a good movie. It hit all stops on the sprawling epic front. It’s like all of a sudden his on a ship on the ocean, and it’s like, “Really?”

A quick sub review. I saw Inglourious Basterds recently enough. I posted something up to Facebook which said, “Chris McGinty watched “Inglourious Basterds” tonight. They should have called it “World War II: The Re-imagining.” Good stuff though. I love the fact that Tarrantino never makes anything feel rushed. At all.” The reason I bring this up is because Brad Pitt is in it, and his character demands of his men that they each bring him 100 Nazi (pronounced similar to Patsy) scalps or die trying.

Back to Legends. As part of the sprawling, the three brothers go to war, and there is a scene where Brad Pitt scalps German soldiers, not Nazis, but German nonetheless. There was probably no scene that was my fave in this movie, or even scenes that vie for fave status, but it was well acted movie with a good plot.

The first movie I watched at dinner last night was “Zombieland.” I actually saw the movie in the theater when it first came out. I really enjoyed it. It’s funny. It’s got reasonably believable characters in a certainly fantasy setting. It has a lot of good action in it. Watching it a second time, a rarity for me and movies, I enjoyed it just as much. If you like “Shaun of the Dead,” you should go ahead and watch this. You’ll probably like it.

The second movie was “Paranormal Activity.” I enjoyed it. Worth a watch. I’m sure it’s not for everybody the way it was shot, but it was better than “The Blair Witch Pr…” I’ve never seen Blair Witch. Maybe Sean Connery was wrong about not thinking while you write. Anyway, I want to deal with something that warrants a “SPOLIER ALERT” warning. There are two endings to the movie, and I guess the one they used was a little more of a standard horror film ending, and it was alright; a fitting enough end really given that she thinks the ghost is angry about him using the camera and recording equipment. The other ending is kind of creepy, and from that perspective I really appreciated it. My problem is that police come into the house and she has a knife, and since she’s in shock she doesn’t drop the knife, so they shoot her. I seem to be the only one who finds this dumb. Police are trained to disarm people, aren’t they? I guess I can see an officer panicking if rushed, but she’s in shock, she’s not possessed as she was prior to their arrival. There would be no reason for her to attack or seem to attack, and so a shooting would seem unlikely. But it seems to be accepted that it would happen like that. Is this the result of watching too many movies, or do shootings actually take place of this nature? Either way, I’m glad they went with the horror standard, even if it wasn’t quite as creepy. I feel it at least made better sense.

Anyway, that’s been my movie watching for about the last month. And incidentally, dinner was great. I think she got the recipe online. If so, I’ll find out where and link it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Some tips this time

by Nathan Stout

Well this is According To Whim...

I'm writing this post because I have been busy getting our house ready to see in April. Today I was texturing and painting the room next tot he 'Library Room'. You can see the room (it's the one with the television across from the big chair) on Season 2 at many points. What's all this about? I'll tell you... painting.

I start a project and come to some understanding on how to do something very efficiently (after getting halfway through the project) and then totally forget when I start a similar project. Case in point: Painting... After starting and gaining little ground cause I am having to do second and third coats it dawns on me that I figured out how to avoid this last time I painted... Thicker paint!

So here is a little tip that will save you TONS of time while painting. Use a lot of paint. Slap it on thick. Don't try to spread it out too much. You will be amazed when you get the work done in half the time. Also, do all the fiddly bits first. The corners, the trim, everywhere your roller won't get to. It's a lot easier doing the hard stuff first. You get real tired of painting when you do the rolling first then realize you have to do all the fiddly bits. Hope my tips help.

Pretty random right? Well like I said this is According To Whim.

The room got painted the exact same color so if we have to do re shoots for season 2 it won't really matter. I basically patched all the holes, textured (to cover the fact that there are patched holes) and then painted.

Here is another tip. They say painting is the best ROI (return on investment) you can do when getting a house in top shape to sell. As of this point I have painted nearly (if not exactly) half of the house. I am hoping to cash in on all that ROI.

Peace out!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Editing... not as easy as you think.

by Nathan Stout

Well, it's not so much 'hard' as it is tedious.

Lets start with all these fun facts...
  • To get 1 minute of screen time (at one angle) you will film about 10 minutes.
  • To get the same one minute utilizing 3 different angles you will film for 30 minutes.

You now have 30 minutes of footage that you need to edit down to 1 minute. Well, before you do any of that you need to get the footage into the computer. If you are using a hard drive type camera it's pretty easy. If you are using tape (like we do with MiniDV) you have to basically hook the camera up to the PC and play back the whole 30 minutes while the PC captures it. This is called encoding. So next:

  • The 30 minutes will take roughly 3 hour to get it cut down to 1 minute.

Notice the word 'roughly'. This means all the junk is tossed and you have a rough edit that has no finess. You need to further work on this minute of footage.

  • Make cuts so angle changes are smooth.
  • Any effects need to be done.
  • Any corrections to colors/visuals.
  • Sound editing.

This will take a further 3 hours to complete to get your final minute. Some scenes are easy and take less time. Other are hard and take twice as long. I have discovered that the more complex the scene (no matter how long) will take twice as long to edit that a scene 3 times as long with less complexitiy.

With all this jiba-jabba lets look at the facts surrounding season 2 of According To Whim.

  • 3 hours of screen time.
  • That equals 30 hours of filming.
  • That equals 30 hours of capture.
  • That equals 90 hours of editing.
  • Add an additional 10+ hours for effects/audio/graphics/fine tuning.

So that comes out to 160 hours of work for 3 hours of screen time. That equals about 53 hours of work per episode.

Oh did I mention the extra time you put in for writing the thing or all the other time you spend between takes like traveling, getting shots ready, etc?

It is a time intensive process but you can come up with something really nice in the end.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Man, Why You Uh, Uh, Uh

by Chris McGinty (though I'm not sure why I'm admitting to that)

We didn't do the meeting so much tonight as we did a game night. Loren, who can be seen briefly in Season Two with a lot less hair than he has now, rode out with me and we had a game night. I won. That's the simplified version of it I suppose, but whatever.

We played a mini Net Runner Tournament, which I'll write up in the Net Runner group. We also played a game called Marshmallow Mateys, or Sword and Skull, or something like that. The whole game was nullified by a series of errors we made. I was red damn it! And they moved Nathan as red. We corrected that quickly enough, but then we ran into other issues as poor rules management went. And I'm not talking about something complicated like getting a turn order reversed because of an optional rule that changes the order of events in time sequence by roll of dice and role of character, or some rules nonsense like that. Nope. Our pirates were simply entering the cave where it was clearly marked "Exit." Cos we're dummies, arrrr!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Idea Generation

by Chris McGinty

It’s sort of interesting to me how I write all the time, but when I sit down to try to think of something to write for the blog, and occasionally when I try to think of something to write for other projects, I sit there and wonder what could I write that would be interesting enough.

I think Nathan and I are going to brainstorm some topic ideas tomorrow at our meeting, which will be good I think, but I have a few topic ideas already bouncing around in my head, and they aren’t getting written. Let’s examine this for a moment.

I’ve been writing for… well, more years than you can imagine, and to be honest I’ve never run out of ideas. Ever. This isn’t to say I don’t get writer’s block. I read an article, I’m pretty sure it was in Writer’s Digest, which is a great magazine, a long time ago about what writer’s block really is. It suggested that it’s more of a belief that you have nothing good to write than it is an actual lack of ideas. Many writers suggest that you pick a time each day, and just sit in front of computer, typewriter, or notebook, and do nothing else but write. Don’t worry if it’s good or not, just write. Or do nothing, your choice. But for that amount of time you either write, or sit there.

It’s really good advice. It has no bearing on my life, but it is good advice.

I had an idea recently while reading an article about these novels that were written in text installments. These novels were posted up, as is, to message boards straight from the phone, using the maximum of 140 characters, or whatever it is. It’s a neat idea, probably not something I would do, sort of. I realized I could write my thoughts about these novels on one of these blogs, but I haven’t yet, because it didn’t seem like it would be an interesting enough read. Here are my thoughts about it.

1. When I was at my guard post at a Fort Worth restaurant walking the parking lots to help prevent break car break ins, not to stop them mind you, but merely to deter, I had just my phone to keep me busy. I used the text function to send a sentence or two to my email at a time. This was not like the novels I was reading the article about. What I wrote was usually a mess that every couple of weeks I’d go into my email and clean up. The thing is that I wrote a lot out there in spite of the inferior tools I had. More about this in a minute.

2. A long time ago at another guard post, working for a company that I took far less seriously, I started another idea. The reason for the link above is that that segment was based on how I got fired from the job I’m discussing. I didn’t have the capability back then to browse the internet on my phone, or send texts to my email. I got an idea for a book called “Notepad” and the basic thought was to use the 20 notepad slots to write a mini-essay. I figured that if I did this every time I was at my guard post that after a while I would have a collection that would reach book length. The problem I ran into was that it meant that every day after work I would need to go home and transcribe those 20 slots into a file, so I could have them open the next night. The problem is that I had children to get to and from school, and sleep I needed to get. So the idea never made it far.

So you can see why I haven’t written a blog about the “text novels” article I read. It just doesn’t seem too compelling. But the idea was there. That’s more what writer’s block is as I see it, and as many professional writers see it.

So one thought tying into the writing of novels; I haven’t completed either of the two I’m writing yet, but I have done far more than I’ve ever done in my life, bringing two novels to about two-thirds completion each. The thought is on the concept of filler.

Filler in writing is sometimes defined as extra stuff that really doesn’t help to further the story, the characters, or the setting. It just is there to fill the pages. In music it’s a little more dodgy, because some of us like ten minute solos, but sometimes you will hear the term “filler track” which refers to a song that hasn’t been as polished as the other songs on an album, and was likely just pushed out real quick to meet a time and track requirement.

There is another type of filler, one that shouldn’t be taken so blithely. When you’re writing a novel you have your major scenes, and then you have the stuff that gets you from one of those scenes to the next. As writer’s block goes, this is probably the one that gets me the most; coming up with things that aren’t central to the plot, but help to further the story, the characters, or the setting.

It’s strange that a term that usually suggests a lazy approach to the creative process can actually be one of the toughest challenges.

I suppose that I’ve said enough now. If I have any advice to anyone facing writer’s block it’s the following. First of all just write. Even the quick telling of trying to shoot a scene with Jonathan somewhere as noisy as a war zone, will give you practice with narrative, even if it’s only so-so writing. Second, outlines help. They don’t have to be overly complicated crap like you learned in school, just enough to house the major points you have. Third, brainstorm. Just start listing ideas. Don’t worry if they’re good, just list. When you’ve found one that seems good, or even good enough, brainstorm it for a while.

Writing is mostly taking action.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Thing About Doing A Project...

... is getting everyone there to do their part.

by Nathan StoutOne of the main problems I had in doing Season 2 was my own workload. Now, I am not be-littling the other guys but I had quite a bit more to do myself than the rest. My duties on According To Whim: Season 2 were:

  • Writing
  • Scheduling
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Camera/Lighting
  • Encoding
  • Editing

So for those of you who didn't know how things were done for season 2, it went like this. I had the idea to shoot it all at once. A six day, non-stop shoot. Get everything done quickly so I could spend all the other time finishing it up, making it look nice.

It didn't quite go that way. First and foremost I learned that if you plan to have 12 hour days, you had better be ready for it. I wasn't even ready for 8 hour days! You are rushed rushed rushed and when the day is done, you THEN have to catch up on all the other stuff you need to do (in your own life).

For a project like this you really need the following guidelines:

  1. Clear your personal schedule completely. I mean COMPLETELY.
  2. Make sure all involved have done the same and they are commited 100%.
  3. Focus and take regular breaks.
  4. Make sure you actually work the number of hours you planned (8, 10, or 12).
  5. Stay on or over schedule.

Now you might have noticed I put 'make sure all involved are there and are commited 100%' second on my list even though I titled this post about it. Well, you *might* get around having something come up in your life that HAS to get done and it won't make your project fall apart or get too behind. However, if the people you need aren't there you will quickly get behind.

Case in point. I let our director/camera operator know several months in advance that I would need him in a few months, at this date, for this amount of time. He agreed. He also failed to notify his demanding spouse. I am guessing he thought that he would just work around her... fail.

This dumped the camera work/directing onto Chris and myself. Overall I believe it strained me as well as failing to get the best shots and direction that we could have gotten. Personally I would have really enjoyed having someone else taking control of the actual shoot the entire time. It would have let me focus on acting (which I have a hard enough time with already).

I'm not totally complaining, we had him for a bit and that really helped. But like I said eariler if you ever plan to do something like this make sure all involved have commited 100%.

If at all possible, that list I have above showing everything I did... if you can get someone seperate to do each! Sure that's a lot of people, but I couldn't imagine how much better our project would have been if so many people were working on it. Each person could not feel rushed and could really make their part shine!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, Rainy Sunday

by Chris McGinty

It’s Monday, and it’s supposed to snow tonight. That’s why I went ahead and used yesterday’s blog title again, unless of course I changed yesterday’s blog title, in which case it is now just today’s blog title.

Yesterday, provided that by the time I’m done with this Nathan hasn’t posted one of his blogs at the ready, in which case two days ago, I discussed our Thursday night meeting and dealt with all the Season Two related stuff. Today, I would like to deal briefly with a few of the other things we discussed.

One thing we discussed is my new weekly blog which will be posted to the site. These are longer blogs that would not fit so well here. I set myself a Sunday deadline each week, and started a week ago on installment number one. I did have it finished before midnight, but the editing ran it a little late. I will send it to Nathan today, so he may make a page for it. It’s called [something, something] Farmville (Part One). All the section titles are pretty good though, even if the blog title will likely suck.

Nathan wanted to do an album review together, which is actually a really good idea. I think he was intending it for this blog, but I think I will suggest doing it for my weekly blog. Oh neat! I just did suggest it. I know that what I write will be a lot longer than what he writes, cos it will be, so I thought maybe what we could do is I’ll write mine with some historical factoids about whichever album we choose (Don’t Be Afraid, I’ll probably suggest one in some obscure way) along with opinions on the music. Then we can have a section like in Game Informer where it says “Second Opinion” and it will contain Nathan’s review, but will call it “Sekund Opynion” so no clothing manufacturers barf up on our shoes.

I don’t know. We’ll discuss it. I’m just trying to fill out a blog here.

We discussed some personal goals, and some show goals. We’ll have to make a point to blog about those in the coming weeks, but for now, I’m going to finish this up and send Nathan the other blog. For point of reference this blog is about 400 words. The other one is about 3,200. But it’s good. So I suggest you read it, you know, once it’s up.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Windy Day for Season Two

by Chris McGinty

It’s raining, which explains the title, unless I changed the title, and then it doesn’t make any sense at all, unless I changed it to something which still makes sense, in which case: It’s raining, which explains the title. But as someone said, very recently, rain makes for good sleep; and I’m about to do just that. I merely wished to check in here and give Nathan the weekend off from posting. He has three blogs ready to go, or close to it, but obviously if he had to use two of them this weekend then he would have to get to writing much sooner.

I have wanted to discuss Thursday a little bit, but I haven’t, so now would be a good time. I woke up at somewhere around 2:00pm (don’t know how I made it through the day getting up so early) and I called Nathan. I had to ask him if I could borrow $10 for gasoline until next meeting. Ugh. If I post this, my word against his won’t stand up in court. Oh well, I’ll pay him back this time.

I drove into Decatur, which took me about forty-five minutes all told, and I pulled off to put the last $2.67 in change that I had so that I wouldn’t run out of gas. I called Nathan when I was done and explained that I was exiting the freeway. As luck would have it, he was approaching the same intersection, so I pulled in behind him, yelling “Team Ranger” (not kidding) and followed him to the noisiest park in the country of Texas.

Well it wasn’t the park so much. Sure there were people, but they weren’t that noisy really. It was the fact that every emergency vehicle in Decatur was running lights and sirens throughout the shoot, trains were making sure that drivers were warned of their approach throughout the shoot, and the wind was blowing as hard as wind is allowed to blow without being considered a storm throughout the shoot.

That’s the new fortune cookie game, “You will experience tough times and obstacles… throughout the shoot.”

Jonathan was with Nathan, and we got to work. Jonathan plays the part of a random bum in Season Two who gets advice about begging from Chris, and then returns to give Chris some money from his spoils. Chris is begging for money for gas, because he has no job. Yes, some of you already see it.

Anyway, Jonathan did a great job. His acting was good. He didn’t make the mistake of overdoing it, and was still convincing. Most importantly he had taken the time to memorize his lines, which weren’t too plentiful, but he was still one step ahead of me.

And after shooting the scene where Chris begs for gas money, Nathan handed me $10 for gas money, which I really needed. Then I met him back at his house.

He showed me the most recently edited footage, which ranged from good to great. The part that I really enjoyed was the “resolution of the scratch off ticket” scene. When you finally get to see Season Two, you will understand. One of the funniest scenes I’ve seen so far, ranking up there with the magic carpet dream, and the Nathan’s Revenge on Brainbox scene.

There is more about Thursday I could discuss, but we’ll leave the theme of this blog the Season Two work. And I’m sure when we’re done, we’ll link the scene for you to see, or maybe if Nathan’s so inclined he’ll make a preview segment.

One last bit about the shoot, just to toot my own horn for being funny. At some point a woman started calling for someone named Dylan, who we correctly assumed to be a kid. Three kids started walking away from the park and one of them yelled that he was on his way. We were setting up a shot, so the footage wasn’t disturbed, and one of the kids asked what we were doing. Nathan told him we were shooting a show. The kid asked if it was for TV and Nathan said that it was for the internet. The kid seemed disappointed, but I said, “Yeah, so go look up our site, Dylan.”

Well, Nathan and Jonathan found it funny.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chris's Poem: Photo Affects

Photo Affects

I set the shot for another take
And I think I thought to shutter to think
Something happy and something so strange
Something to drive a drinking man to drink

And I asked you to turn a bit more right
As the night started to lose the fight to the day
It’s pretty looking so close
When you become afraid to look away

No guidelines, no rule book
No outline or plot structure
This could affect you
And I’m sure it already has

I signaled for a quick break
I hit the power button to watch the light go out
Found a bottle of reality checks to take
And I don’t want to see you hanging about

But I wanted to sit down so close to you
I wanted to tell you it meant something more
More to me than more to you than more than anyone we may share
But instead I walked out the door

No talks, no negotiations
No contract, no license
This could affect me
And I’m sure it already has

I looked some place
Just for the moment
And you were standing behind me
In the ever unlikely

So I ran in to grab the camera
I knew I would need something to remind
I found the place where you once stood
And found nothing left to find

And I wanted to fade away with you
I wanted to tell you it meant something more
More than any monumental failure
But instead I walked back through the door

No friends, no enemies
No prospects or future plans
This could affect us
And I’m sure it already has

- Chris McGinty – 2-20-10 – 12:49 pm

Friday, February 19, 2010

According To Whim: The Audio Show

By Nathan Stout

Jump into the Time Tunnel, quick!

Ok, welcome to 1999 poser. I am living in far West Fort Worth (off of 820 in the Hills Apartments) and I am browsing the tube (uh, no not YouTube, it didn't exist yet). I come across channel 46, it's Fort Worth public access. This dorky show called Sniffles is on and these two doofuses are acting all dumb and shit. Then at the end of the show is an email address...

Do I take the blue pill or the red pill...

I took... which ever pill to email Miguel... man oh man, if there are moment where you can say 'that decision changed my life' I would have to say that was one of them.

So began my relationship with Miguel and Chris. For the most part Sniffles was over but the two had begun a new project: According To Whim. An audio show (a pod cast if you will) where the topic of day was anything and everything. The location, anywhere. They would talk in a room, on the road, walking the dog (not what your thinking you dirty minded fool), etc.

I started guest staring soon thereafter. I must admit I was never a substitute for either Miguel or Chris but I tried my best. They both had somewhat similar tastes so their banter was a little more natural.

Get back into the time tunnel and move ahead a year or two. All these 90 minute tapes were sitting about at Miguel's house and I had an idea. Originally they had planned to eventually get all the audio shows online. In fact Miguel got several episodes encoded in Real Media files. I started playing with the other shows (playing with formats, bitrates, etc).

I got quite a few more up online on the web but there were still a lot more to do. To this day there is probably several tapes far beneath all the crap that sits in Miguel's room. Anyway, over the years I added more and more shows and played with the site to make it as easy to use as possible.

Miguel was less and less available and eventually it was basically me and Chris. Like I said earlier I feel the shows with me lack the charm of the original duo but I do my best. Chris and I have continued making the show about anything and everything. Lately we have been doing some 'business based' shows where we are discussing what we each need to do each week to make the website/show/miscellaneous projects successful. It's probably not very interesting to the casual listener but we thought it would be a neat thing to do (especially if we make it big one day).

Chris and I hope to continue the audio shows (along with all our projects) and make them all a success and at least mildly entertaining. Please take a listen, you might giggle a bit.

What? You are still stuck in the early 2000's? Well, jump back into the time tunnel, you poser.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tonight’s Meeting

by Chris McGinty

It’s 6:42 am. I should be in bed. I’m supposed to go to Nathan’s work at 4:00 pm today and shoot scenes with Jonathan for Season Two. I think I’m going to actually have to shave for this. I guess I’ll grow the “beard,” if that’s what you want to call it, back out for the beginning of Season Three.

So why am I up if I have such important things to be doing? That last sentence was more passive than a peacenik on Valium playing Farmville. Oh that’s what it was. I was working on my blog.

As I said before, Nathan has this odd belief that I’m not doing anything with my time. This belief is founded in reality, but that’s not the point. I do actually work on things at times. Usually the wrong times, like when I should be sleeping, but I do work on things at times.

One thing we will discuss tonight is our next Ten Weeks goals. The first Ten Weeks of the year are running from 12-28-09 to 3-7-10. That’s almost over. The next Ten Weeks will run from 3-8-10 to 5-16-10. The basic idea here is to have goals that are long term enough to span one fifth of the year, but short enough not to get eternally put off. These can then be broken down into weekly and daily goals. I use a 70 page notebook with one day assigned to each page. I use it with varying degrees of success.

One goal that I’ve had that I’ve been neglecting that I’m starting this week is to write one “longer” blog a week. This idea was there before we decided to do this daily blog, but this is for shorter thoughts mostly, and news updates about our site.

My plan is to have a Sunday deadline for said “longer” blog, and it will be housed on the website; cos My Space is a barren wasteland, and Facebook has no dedicated blog function. If I’m going to have to link to another site anyway, it might as well be ours.

The two blogs I’m working on right now are both video game “reviews,” but I wish you to note that I totally threw up some quotes there. These won’t be the type of reviews you read in Game Informer, which is a great magazine, but they’re kind of obligated to inform us about games. And I’m not.

I started the Guitar Hero 5 review a while back, but I haven’t played the game for nearly a month, so I stopped writing it. I’ve been taking notes for the Farmville review, and I started it this evening.

I think both are good blogs so far, and I’d tell you if I didn’t think so. Since this blog site allows you to easily edit previous blogs, I will come back here when I have them posted up and link them. I’ll also write a quick one here telling you folks that they’re up. That’s all I can give you right now. I’m going to bed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

BluRay Review: Watchmen Motion Comic

by Nathan Stout

I just wanted to talk about a Blu Ray disc that came out a while back. It arrived shortly before the movie did. It's Watchmen The Complete Motion Comic.

This was the first Blu Ray disc I bought and I am still happy with that purchase. It was like thirty bucks but I still feel like I got a deal on it.

It's basically the actual comic book, reformatted with some minor animations and a narrator. The images have been remastered and looks clean and super sharp. This is a real treat to watch.

The is only one guy narrating it so he does the female voices as well. I guess it would be a little strange for the average viewer but I listen to a lot of audio books and you hear that sort of thing all the time.

It's the whole comic book and it takes several hours to watch. I suggest watching it by episode (there are 12). The move was fairly close to the comic book but of course it had to have a Hollywood ending so you will find a bit different at the end of the motion comic/comic book. It's far more of a let down as opposed to a 'lets go superheroing!' Hollywood ending.

The animation that I mentioned that I said is 'minor' is actually quite a lot. I said minor because if you are watching something animated like this you might expect a cartoon or something. The animation is actually quite impressive. What they did was take each scene (box on the page) and edit it in a way that various parts move with the action including some complex 3-D animations. It looks like it was very time consuming to do. Maybe that's why I like it so much. It looks hand-done but it was probably done in Flash or something.

Anyway you get a lot for your money and a visual that you really enjoy looking at (at least I do, I love detail). It's a very interesting and 'rare' form of entertainment. I wish there were more great comic books in this format.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Robotech Fanzine: Protoculture Addicts

by Nathan Stout

I would have to say that my most prized Robotech possession is not a Robotech toy, a comic, or a DVD. My most prized Robotech possession are issues 1 - 10 of Protoculture Addicts.

Now for those of you who don't know what the heck Robotech is, here is a brief history: Robotech is a cartoon from the early eighties. It was actually from Japan and was transported to the states with some rewriting and reediting of the animation footage. With that said there was tons of merchandise (toys, books, etc) and one of those was a magazine called Protoculture Addicts which ran (issues 1-10) from the VERY late 80's through early 90's.

Protoculture Addicts was a fanzine (for those of you who don't know) produced solely about Robotech (for its 1st 10 issues). It was started in the latter part of the 80's into the early 90's (and still runs today).

These were the days when Anime was still called 'Japanimation'. This is when you still used BBS (bulletin board systems) to communicate electronically. It is also when Japanimation was hard to get a hold of (a real niche market).

I stumbled across an issue in my local comic store and grabbed it up. This was circa 1990. I still have that issue. It has a stain on the back cover where some of my taco bell bean burrito fell on it (one day when I was pouring over it while at lunch from school).

It was epic to me at that time. Here were some guys who weren't a big corporation out to make ad money. These were fans producing something similar to something I might be able to do on my x86. It was a fanzine written by fans, funded by fans, and made for fans... of ROBOTECH. All Robotech all the time. Sure, there was a page or two of other anime info but it was 99% Robotech! Not flashy, not pretentious, just people nerding out for Robotech.

It is now coming up on 20 years later and I STILL enjoy the occasional browse of those fading pages.

You can find the old issues online and it's not too hard, just keep looking.

In these days of info and entertainment overload (and ease of access) it is so nice to remember those days when finding something like Protoculture Addicts was such a major thing. I still think there is a place for paper fanzines, sure it's not cost effective, but it I think it means more than just a glowing screen.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I Can’t Believe it’s Not Sunday

by Chris McGinty

I’m not sure how Nathan is doing the daily blog. I somehow didn’t see the ICBINY blog before. Are you fudging the chronology, Nathan?

Anyway, we here at ATW took the day off for Valentine’s Day. Or maybe it was because it was Sunday and we were pretending to be a government office. Or maybe we both spaced it out.

Either way, I thought I'd check in real quick and say that there are some other rules to ICBINY. I’ma have to get the location of the program from Nathan and play it for a while and figure out what it was. Think is there’s another game called Zonk that I played with my former roommates, and it was a very similar game, but had enough differences that it’s a bad thing if the two blur in my head. This… this… this, right here… is why I try to archive everything and keep ample notes. Cos one day you wake up and realize you no longer remember how to play that stupid game that really wasn’t so stupid, and gave you hours of listening pleasure, provided you were jamming Erasure and occasionally trying to make Nathan realize that he’s a Talk Talk fan as you played.

This is not by any means a great blog, but I’m tired. It’s 7:09 am, and I’m going to bed. This will free Nathan up to do his Skipping Blog, or Frog, or whatever today rather than this one. And when I come back tomorrow or whenever, I’ll be back in form. Presumably.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I Can't Believe It's Not Yahtzee

By Nathan Stout

We call it ICBINY for short. The name is really a misnomer. It's nothing like Yahtzee at all. Yes there are some dice, yes you roll them in an attempt to score some points but that's about all.

It's such a fun little game that I have decided to share the rules with you.

But first some history:

ICBINY was a shareware game. Where it was before that is any one's guess. It's actually kinda difficult to find nowadays. I did track down a working site that had the game but it's a very primitive program. Several years ago Chris told me about this game he started playing called I Can't Believe It's Not Yahtzee. He remembered the rules and we played it in 'real life' (with real dice, not on the PC). We did have to refer to the program a couple of times to get some instructions but we figured it out and played it a bit (between our many games of NetRunner).

It's been awhile since we played last and I suggested we play it one night but Chris was unsure about the rules. I decided to look them up but could only find that old game. I have installed and and will endeavor to transcribe the rules for you to play at home. Enjoy.

I Can't Believe It's Not Yahtzee

Object of the Game: Roll dice and be the first to reach 10,000 points.


  • Players take turns rolling 6 dice.
  • You may collect 1's which are worth 100 points or 5's which are worth 500 points.
  • You may collect 3 of-a-kind which is worth 100x the number.
  • You may collect 3 1's for 1000 points.
  • You may collect 3 pairs for 1500 points.
  • You may collect a straight (all six dice) for ?
  • If you are rolling the last single die and you roll a 1 you get 500 points.
  • If you collect 2 dice then you only roll 4 dice (if you decided to keep rolling). That is to say once you collect dice, then those dice are moved off the board.
  • If you collect all 6 dice you may continue and you then get to roll all 6 dice again.
  • You may roll the dice as many times as you want. The points you collect during a turn are only temporary. If you roll the dice and are unable to collect any of those dice your turn is over and you lose your temporary score.
  • So then, the idea is to get a good score and then pass the turn to the next player. The temporary score is then added to your main score.
  • You can only collect up to 3 dice at a time (per roll).
  • If you are on your last die and you DO NOT get a 5 or a 1 you get to re-roll it one time.
  • If you roll four 2's you lose ALL your saved up score, you go back to 0.

That's all! It's basically a 'push your luck' type of game, do you keep rolling to increase your score or do you play it safe and collect small amounts of points and build up???

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Proposed Season Three Format

by Chris McGinty

Well, it snowed a whole lot here in Fort Worth/Dallas. Well, it snowed a lot for here. I’m glad I’m not delivering pizza anymore. I’d have to be out in this crap. Nathan called me a wuss for not wanting to drive out there Thursday night. I’m pretty sure he was kidding. I explained that my truck is a wuss. I wasn’t kidding.

So I spoke about Season Three in my last blog. I would like to clarify what it is that we’re supposed to be doing, because some how over the last four and something years it’s become as complicated as everything we do, because we here at ATW Enterprissy don’t follow one of the simplest formulas for accomplishment.

Think of something to do. Do it. Think of something else to do. Do it. Think of yet another thing to do. Yeah, you got it now.

Now don’t start with all the arguments against it like, “But if you doing all thet ther low priority sturf and never do important sturf then you rully doesn’t accomplish that much douz ya?” Cos I agree. I am for prioritization. I’m for doing the right thing at the right time and all that.

What my thought was for the Season was to list a basic outline for the storyline and then start shooting it. I wanted a weekly get together at Nathan’s in which the following would happen. I would sit down at the computer and script the next scene and then we would shoot the scene. We would do our best to stick with the storyline, but we would do what it was that we could do, that day, with the people and resources we had.

In this way if we had an idea that involved Miguel it would only get done if Miguel was available. If not we would figure out where to go instead story wise. The sketches that were not part of the storyline would be shot whenever, and inserted wherever they worked.

My theory was that we could get Miguel when we needed him if we kept his part small enough, and when I wanted to include the light saber scene I figured the fact that he would get to use a light saber would be enough.

The other sort of important idea here was that while I thought it would be good to stick with the six episodes, per season, format, I was thinking more along the line that if a story line ended mid season, or overlapped seasons that it would be ok. It would just be part of the mayhem.

The first season was shot, except one episode, by basically shooting material haphazardly until it was done. What was to be the second season was supposed to work much the same way, but as we would shoot it sequentially, we could build a story as we went.

Let me go on record that in spite of all the shit I give Nathan about Season Two, I do think it was very good. And I did enjoy shooting it and everything. But even Nathan would have to admit that it got a bit complicated somewhere along the way. It might just be a lack of time focused on the project in the last half of the year. I’m sure that if we had met weekly, and did some sort of work on Season Two each time, that we would be done by now. I’m just kind of wary about getting into another Season that gets stalled because of specific script requirements.

I don’t know what Nathan thinks of all of this. He did start writing scripts for Season Three, and truth be known it probably doesn’t hurt anything, even as this formula for production goes. If we start shooting sequentially we can simply follow along as best we can. It would require us letting go of some of our prior habits of show work, but I think it would make the overall goal of completing new episodes easier.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Unhealthy TV watching

Ever been attached to a TV show? I think I just have. It was MASH. Sure, I've seen MASH like a krillion times during my life but something in my mind broke last month.

I started buying the DVDs in 2002 and pretty much got each one as they came out (by season). I watched them all and the DVD sets were stored on the shelf with all the other DVDs.

A few months back I started watching them again. You will notice I posted bits about it on my other blog Skipping Frog. Just pop over there and search MASH in the search bar at the top of the page.

Anyway I watched them all. There are 251 episodes. That's a lot of TV, a lot of hours. That is 5+ days of watching!

My brain cracked. Towards the bitter end my brain showed signs of cracking but in the end it split open like a huge split thing. I thought more and more about the real war (or police action) in Korea. What would I have been like if I had been forced to go to war as a teen? Then I would think about how strange it must be when the war was over and knowing you were leaving 3 years of your life behind in that foreign land. Would it have been melancholy to leave that place and the people you grew so close to or would you just be happy the nightmare was all over? I think these are the things mental war-illness are made of.

My mind decided it had had enough when I decided to sell my DVD set. I needed some money to work on the old Volkswagen so I decided that I could see my MASH and Highlander DVD sets and make some cash. Oh man... the old gray matter didn't like this at all. I started having dreams about MASH on an almost nightly basis. I started dreaming about episodes that never happened and the final episode I was there for while they were shooting it. The wrap-up party. Just anything you can think of, I was dreaming it.

My mind split like a... large thing that splits.

The DVDs are gone now. Off to be enjoyed by someone else. The dreams have stopped... for now. MASH might have been a slightly different case than most TV shows (because of its real-life basis, i.e. the war) but I can't deny that it affected me. Maybe that's why it held onto the 'most-watched' rating spot for so long. I decided to write this up because the Superbowl knocked MASH off it's 'most watched' rating spot the other day. 27 years it held it's title, not bad for a show from the 70's, eh?

Chris Participates in the Daily Blog; Film at Eleven

by Chris McGinty

I’ve been getting hate mail and suchlike from my good pal Nathan about the fact that I haven’t contributed to the daily blog yet, so I thought perhaps I should check in. Then I procrastinated a couple of days. Then I thought perhaps I should check in, again.

I guess I should give a quick explanation, mostly for Nathan’s benefit, but please, be my guest and stick around through the paragraph. I went to Nathan’s last Thursday, and he was all like, “Well old chap, we should start writing a daily blog fo’ shizzle.” So I was like, “Ok, sounds good.” He suggested we do one of our co-written blogs, see February 4, 2010. The problem is that I didn’t understand that he meant, “Let’s start the daily thing right this minute.” So I thought nothing of it for a couple of days until I went looking for our new picture shoot, and noticed that Nathan had been slaving away in blog land. That’s when the posts to the private group, and assailing me on Facebook, started. I exaggerate, but oh well.

I'm unclear if this means Nathan has the day off since I'm posting. To me that would make sense. We only need one blog a day to be daily, right? I do most of my work overnight, so I imagine that if I haven't posted by afternoon or evening that Nathan can write one. I guess we'll see. Oh, the suspense.

I wasn’t trying to shirk my duty. I might have been succeeding, but I wasn’t trying. Sometimes Nathan mistakenly believes that because I’m doing nothing measurable for ATW that I’m not doing anything at all for ATW, or for that matter anything at all in general. He might be right this last week, but not normally. I do a lot of stuff with varying degrees of usefulness.

So given that I’m posting up for Thursday, we’re getting together tonight for our weekly meeting. I’m not totally sure what direction we’re going for this year yet. Clearly we’re finishing up Season Two, and starting Season Three, but it seems like after a month of meetings we’d know more about this.

Nathan mentioned in one of his blogs, cos I have been reading them, that he’s not so sure why I’m all about doing Season Three when Season Two isn’t in the toilet y… what? oh yer right… the phrase is in the can. You knew what I meant. So if nothing else I guess I’ll make this blog an explanation of why we’re starting on Season Three now.

Much of the work that is left on Season Two is editing. Nathan mentioned this in his blog as well. There are a few script-specific things left to shoot, but all the extra bits that may or may not be shot will be contingent on knowing if there is time to fill, which in turn requires the editing to be done. Waiting to start on Season Three for this process to be completed would cause a needless delay.

Further, the concept behind the Season (originally supposed to be Season Two) was to have a basic storyline, which we do, and to start shooting sequentially. The reason to do this was to account for Nathan’s possible move, which did happen. Oddly, we’ll be accounting for that possibility now too. But more importantly was the idea that we would know when an episode was done because we would run out of time, much like the audio show when we used tapes. There would be none of this creating filler. It would be included in the process already.

The idea was that if we got together once a week and did what it was possible to do that the process would be more defined, but less burdened by requirement. I’m not sure how this will work out in the long run, but we’ll see. Nathan started writing the scripts for the shows a few months back, proving that he doesn’t comprehend the process, but we’ll deal with that later. It’s been over four years since I explained the process to him He may have just forgot.

For now I’d like to say that it has come to my attention since I started this that it has snowed. I’m not sure what this means for the meeting tonight. Hopefully it will clear up before then. If not we might have to move it to the weekend.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

YouTube - Uploading Tutorial

aka 'Getting it right'

As you all might (or might not know) YouTube is the biggest video sharing site on the interwebs. If you have an interesting video you upload it and just about everyone in the world can see it. Now YouTube can take many different kinds of formats: avi, mpg, dvix, etc... Once you upload your video YouTube's massive server farm will then convert your video to their format. What is 'their' format? Hell, I don't know.

It has taken me six years to 'figure out' what format I need in order for thier format to make it look good.

If you look at video from 2004 through to 2007 you will notice all the videos have the same compresstion or 'look' or 'quality' to them. This is because once I 'finialized' the video I would then conver them to .wmv (that's Windows video format) then I uploaded them to YouTube. The overall qualily isn't that great at all but it looked better than the five or six other formats I tried before reaching that one. So let's look at the 'old' formula:

Finialize video in Adobe Preimer --> Convert in Windows Movie Maker --> Upload to YouTube.

Miguel was my wise teacher in the ways of video conversion techniques and he told me about Divix, a great video codec or 'format'. Apparently YouTube video would look so much better if you sent your video to them in Divix. So I downloaded the player and tried it. It looked better! So now if you go look at 2008 through 2009's According To Whim's YouTube videos you will see the quality is improved.

Improved but not as good as some other people's videos on YouTube. The biggest issue I had was that the video looks 'squeezed'. I let it go because the video was still an improvment over older videos and I could now say the videos were in HD (high-definition).

Fastforward to very early 2010. I was on YouTube and couldn't help byu notice that there were some videos out that that not only looked FANTASTICLY CLEAR but filled in the entire YouTube video player window. I decided I needed to get our video formats in order before Season 2 came out. I started some research into video conversion for YouTube. Now I had done this before (a few time actually) but since the last time I did it YouTube had really made the push to Hi-Def videos.

FINALLY I found it! I had not ever bothered to mess with the more custom settings in the Divix conversion program but found that I could and therein lie the key to excellent video.

Premier --> Divix 1080 custom settings --> YouTube = excellent

So are you ready for the secret of my success? Here it is: Convert you videos in the Divix conversion program and use the custom settings to make your video 1280x720 and double the bit rate (it makes the video very large in size but YouTube will accept it). From there you can play the size and bring it down a bit and it will still fill in the entire window and look great too.

So there you go. It literally took me six years to figure it out and I shared it with you in less than six minutes. Isn't the interweb great?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Planning Season 3

Season 3 is just around the corner. Chris has been mentioning it more and more over the last couple of months. I'm not too sure why since season 2 isn't finished.

Season 2 just has some bits here and there to finish and a crap load of editing so as far as Chris is concerned Season 2 or 'Nathan's show' is done.

Season 3 was conceived in Boston (Lexington actually). I was on a training trip (getting certified in something IT-ish) and I thought I would do some writing since I was pretty bored after class each day.

What I wanted to do with season 3 was to go back to a more 'sketch based' show. I enjoyed the small sketches as opposed to a larger story. My theory is that people enjoy short bits that don't require a lot of time or investment of thought. That might be a mean statement but I think it's true. I know I do.

As it turns out I blended the two styles in writing the first episode. It is basically a full storyline but filled with sketches.

Season 3 is really the original Season 2. We had planned out the story arc of season 2 in 2006 and even shot the first part of the first episode. We dropped the ball and it sort of died away.

Well that story arc will be happening now and it will mix it up abit by filling in sketches we had planned on doing and dropped for whatever reason. Season 3 will be a real mish-mash but it will have a little cohesion. It will basically pickup where season 1 left off. Chris and Nathan have basically 'broken up' and try to reconcile.

Miguel figures heavily in the story so it will be a real challenge to get him involved.

If you are interested in being apart of the show (in almost any capacity) drop me an email and I'll contact you.

Monday, February 8, 2010

George Thorogood makes good

Year before last Chris and I went to WinStar (or as I like to call it, LoseStar). We were just getting into BlackJack. Well, we were doing fine that night. Not too bad, not too good and this hot dealer was showin' us the love when... bing bing bing... time to change up. The dealers switch out tables every once in a while and it was our table's time.

Our dealer woman left and enter... George Thorogood. Geogre was bad. Not only did he give us bad hands... his hands...

His fingers were stubby.

We started calling him Stubby. He also had a striking (ok, not THAT striking) resemblance to George Thorogood. Now, we wouldn't just make fun of someone who had some sort of physical limitations or 'not-so-hot' looks but this guy was MEAN.

He was snide about our playing and made remarks about our 'amateur' moves. This is just not cool. We are here to spend money. It's our choice to play like pros or 'amateurs'.

We started calling him Stubby Satan or Stubby Thorogood. There was probably a couple of other names in there too.

Fastforward to Febuary I was walking in WinStar (losing money) and lo and behold there is a poster for an upcoming concert staring... George Thorogood.. It's so nice to see him coming back up in the world. Maybe WinStar decided to give him a second chance.

Maybe his attitude will improve now that he is not shuffling cards for a living.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Germany hates us, YouTube loves us.

Germany hates us. They love their beloved Louis Armstrong and hate us American-stealing pig-dogs.

A couple of weeks ago I log into my YouTube account to look at some settings to figure out video formats (see yesterday's blog). What do my eyes see but a notice that YouTube has placed on my account (it's all cut up so it fit's here).

Oh no! What DID I do?!!!!

Well YouTube is chock-full of video where some tween has put Evenance (or whatever) music over some crap they did so I am guessing this message isn't all that uncommon with YouTube uploaders.

I click on the link...

The Professor of Dirt Halloween Special is staring me right in the face. Ohhhhhh. I see. Louis Armstrong's 'It's a Wonderful World' is on that video. If you haven't see it, it's a fantastic video with an unexpected touching montage at the end to the music of that song. Go look, it's great.

The notice says the the video has been blocked to viewers in Germany...


Ok, I am thinking to myself that someone in Germay watched it and was offended or something... idk. Well I brush it off and go about my business. At least I know I have done something in mylife time that has been banned by SOMEONE... heck, a whole nation. And I didn't even have to make it involve necrophbilia, animal torture, or something similar. SCORE!

Flashforward to last month. I am re-uploading a few of my older videos to the new fantastic format I discovered that makes the videos look great on YouTube (see last blog again). I happen to upload The Professor of Dirt Halloween Special.


I get an emial within 2 minutes of the upload stating that I have a video that might contain a copyright violation. I click on the link and there is the professor again.

So apparently I didn't offend Germay. The YouTube system must auto-detect music in videos and it sends those emails out as soon as it detects it. I am guessing that they have some sort of international agreement with Germany to block any videos on YouTube that might have copyrighted music in them. This makes me think...

US Version of YouTube = 495,000,000 Videos **** German Version = 5 Videos

Finally I wondered to myself why would YouTube not just dump my video to avoid any legal mess thay might get into with Sony (the copyright holders of the song). Well the answer to that question happened upon me just a little while ago.

YouTube is trying to make money off me.

If you go to the Professor of Dirt Halloween Special you will see a nice little link under the video that says:

Oh really...

I find this VERY interesting.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

ATW: where all are accepted and none are rejected.

The camera sits here on my desk, watching me. It's a Canon XL2 and the tape in it has video on it. I need that video. It has:

  • Secret Agent Man Intros/Outros
  • Guitar Music for the club scene
  • Some other junk

I need to get that off there but I can't seem to make myself do it. It's basically a laziness thing but I have a problem with laziness.


"Hi, my name is Nathan and I'm a lazy bastard."

"Hi Nathan."

Well I think that's the way those meetings go. I think my issue is the issue of the world. I think the entire human race would be so much more advanced, happy, content, etc if there was a cure for laziness (no I am not talking about Heroine).

Chris calls it 'the comfort zone' after a bunch of book he has read. But I think it's basically the same thing. There is a little bit of a difference but not much. If you cured laziness you cured 99% of the 'comfort zone' issue.

The Canon XL2 is a miniDV camera (the tiny tapes). I wish it had a hard drive to record the footage. That would make it SOOOOOOO much easier. I am sure by the time I get around to buying another camera the XL2 will have a hard drive in it.

Not only is the camera watching me, the external hard drive is watching me too. There are hours of editing to do on Season 2 to finish and I can't seem to get going on it.

I did finally post some of the season 2 videos up to a:) stop people whining b:) help motive me to get something done... I am not sure it worked.

I think some interaction (friendly emails, etc) from people would help. So email me some encouragement. It's a great show. Really it is. I mean, take a look at this crap below. sure, it's funny but it shows you what a typical Public Access TV show is. Watch it then tell yourself our show is not nearly that bad...

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Professor of Dirt - Episode 442

I want to give you all a little insight into the sketch: The Professor of Dirt Episode 442.

These sketches had their beginnings in 2006 when I lived in Fort Worth. I had been working on my backyard (which was mostly dirt) when I had the idea of a funny bit of video where the 'professor' would tout his lawn, then we see how dead it was and he would just give up on the whole thing and walk off. My wife had a graduation gown and I always wanted to do something with it (sketch-wise) so with that, some gel in my hair and some glasses with no lenses The Professor of Dirt was born.
I shot that short bit of video in the back yard in Fort Worth but I never expanded the idea to a full sketch so the video lay in silence on my hard drive.
Fast forward to 2007. We moved out to the country and once again I wanted to do this sketch about an over-zealous gardening wanna-be. Johann Simon-Smithe was created and in less than 30 minutes the first sketch was in the bag. I had my wife shoot the actual video while I capered about the yard acting like an effeminate pansy.
Basically Johann thinks he is some super great garden guru but everything he does turns out to be crap. In this episode he talks to a sickly plant and accidental feeds it acid. Then he talks some rubbish about pet rocks. At the point in the sketch where I threw the rock we shot another bit of video with the rock tied to a string and me moving it back and forth in front of the camera to give it a 'flying' effect. In the next shot my wife swings the rock to make it appear to hit me and roll down the hill as the narrator closes the show (which is just me talking a little more softly). The music and bird sounds were created from my Yamaha keyboard.
The only other bit to mention is the picture of the shy Gerraro (who is supposedly running the camera). I simply inserted this character so I could use a silly picture of my boss. The cheesy image always gets laughs so I decided to include Gerraro in each episode as a somewhat mystery character (ala Maris on Frazier).
Overall I am very pleased with this The Professor of Dirt sketch. It was the first sketch to be shot with the Canon XL2 and it looks fantastic.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Conversation with Chris and Nathan

by Chris McStout and Nathan Ginty (or something like that)


(The sweet sounds of Falco's "Out of the Dark" eminates from the computer speakers. Nathan tries in vain to turn it into gangsta rap.)

CHRIS: So Nathan, I guess we're almost done with Season Two even though we've been almost done with Season Two for almost a year now.

NATHAN: This whole season is still taking less time than the whole of Episode Three in Season One.

CHRIS: What exactly do we still have to do? Isn't it like finish Episode One, then finish Episode Two, then Ffnish Episode Three...

NATHAN: Ok, ok, I get it. We have a lot to do still while not having a lot to do.

NATHAN (walks back in the room): Hey! I didn't say that!

NATHAN (the real one): Bullocks (exclamation mark) I admit (comma) things have been going slowly editing is a bitch (period)

CHRIS: Oh well. Have you done the club scene yet?

NATHAN: No. It looks like a very tedious thing to do and it's not until Episode Three anyway. There's no rush.

(Nathan walks out of the room again. He seems to think that now is a good time to do housework. Chris is pretty sure that the landlord character is really just an amalgom of the half of Nathan's personality that is obsessed with housework and the other half of Nathan's personality that is obsessed with housework.)

CHRIS: Where's my copy of Annie Lennox doing "Mama" by The Sugarcubes?

NATHAN: I don't do copies that's illegal. You may listen to my fully legal version.

CHRIS: Where is it?

(Nathan directs Chris through a maze of computer directories until the sweet sounds of Annie Lennox performing "Mama" eminates from the computer speakers.)

CHRIS: This is very World Music/ New Age-ish.

(Nathan doesn't hear Chris say this cos he's cleaning a toilet or something out of the room.)

NATHAN: I agree with your assessment Chris, cos you are an expert of music and your opinion is more important than all others.

NATHAN (the real one): Bullocks!

CHRIS: Who asked you?

(Nathan probably rolls his eyes behind Chris's back. Chris doesn't worry about looking to see.)

NATHAN: What did you think?

CHRIS: She seems to be trying to...

NATHAN: Imitate her?

CHRIS: ... out do her.

(Silence as Chris types.)

CHRIS: So how do you think our weekly meetings are working out?

NATHAN: Uh fair, but not perfect.

CHRIS: What do you think will improve them?

NATHAN: I really don't know. Um. Miguel.

(Chris searches Nathan's desk for whatever crack he's smoking.)

CHRIS: I don't know, you ask me something.

NATHAN: Do you happen to have a fish tank heater at home?

CHRIS: I don't like seafood.

NATHAN: Well I officially call this broken.

CHRIS: And I officially call this the end of our blog.

(And then there are a bunch of explosions, and the kids love it, and the blog sells millions at the box office.)