Thursday, September 2, 2010

According To Whim: Episode 1 FAQ

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

Episode 1: "Homage" -------------------------------------------------

Air Date: May 2005
Production Start Date: February 2004
Production End Date: March 2004
Revisions: Very few if any. Minor spelling error correcting for broadcast.


Sketch 1: "Begin" Audience arrives at Nathan's house to see the show take shape.
Intro: The comic and title screens (a Windows media file)
Sketch 2: "Worker 625" Nathan at his run-of-the-mill office job is tormented by management.
Sketch 3: "Worker 665" Chris at his run-of-the-mill office job is tormented by management.
Sketch 4: "Hello, My Name Is ID" Nathan deals with his creative side in this split screen sketch.
Sketch 5: "Ricer" Nathan brings in his friend - Common Name Ricer - to help the show take shape.
Sketch 6: "Hair Bitch" Chris and Nathan shoot a documentary about a witch who cuts hair in the backwoods of Texas.
Sketch 7: "Airlock" Chris unwittingly blows himself out of an airlock.


Nathan's Notes:

1.) As stated in the comics in the following episode beginning segment; Episode 1 was easy to make! It took no time at all. At the time I was working for a security company and had lots of time on my hands to think of ideas and write scripts. But I digress. Let's start back further if you will... Back in 1999 and some in 2000 I was helping Miguel with his public access show Sniffles(Sniff!) during it's "dying" days. Ever since then I wanted to do a show of my own. From there on (over the next 4 years) I discussed and discussed with Chris and Miguel (mainly Chris) about doing a show. We finally got motivated enough in January 2004 to get it into gear and get it done. Within a month we had a show under our belts. The opening sketch in which the audience shows up to my house and I go get Chris out of bed and we being talking about doing a show of our own actually took up most of the 30 minute episode. We actually cut out quite a bit (I say quite a bit but it was like maybe 4 minutes) to ensure we had some actual comedy in the show (oops, I know I didn't just say that!).



2.) The comics you see at the beginning of the first 6 episodes was an idea I came up with since day one. I like to draw and I knew it would fill up some of the 30 minutes we needed. I actually took that first comic from one of the comics I drew a few years back and posted on my comic website. Now that we had a good chunk of the show shot we needed a few more bits.

2.) The "Worker 625" and "Worker 665" sketches were shot in one night (probably in no more than 1 hour's time). It was shot at an abandoned music instrument company. I won't mention names or how we gained access to it but never the less we got in there, made one of the cubicles look less 'abandoned' and shot the stuff. We also shot in an office with a table, a room with an old copy and postage machine, and in the warehouse. We also shot a couple more things there which you will find out about later. I enjoyed shooting at this location but at the time I was a bit anxious about the amount of time we were spending in there (once again I will not go into details). In those 2 sketches we used dubbed-over audio for the shouting and commanding 'management' voice.

3.) "Hello, my name is ID" was done in the course of like 20 minutes. I was somewhere filming this (again, no can tell) and I quickly shot myself in each seat in this truck from 3 angles (each) and spliced them into a conversation with myself. I was new to this technique so the actual scene with me duplicated on the screen is very short. At the beginning of the sketch you see me getting into a truck. If you look closely you will notice I get into a small pickup and on the close ups I am in a full size truck.

4.) "Ricer", the next part of the main sketch of the show features my then roommate Tuyen. Let me say one thing about Tuyen, he is not the actor's actor, infact he's not an actor at all. He could not remember a line to save his life. Buy hey, this is public access and that's cool here. Eventually he just had to read his line 'on camera'... literally. Just to let all those of you who want to know that the hell is up with the name, 'Common Name Ricer' is Chris' joke about his own name and 'Ricer' is simply the twist on someone else's name... One of Miguel's friends actually. So all that crap is simply Chris' way to make fun of one of Miguel's friends that none of us get along with. What...? Oh you meant; would I explain the name Tuyen? Well, no. That just his name.

5.) "The Hair Bitch" was one of (if not the) first sketches we actually shot. I will have to check with Chris to see if we did this or the opening stuff first. I can't remember. Anyway, this is of course another Blair Witch parody. The theme for this was made by Chris on my mom's piano. We shot this in my backyard in Joshua. You will see the house and other houses in the background on several occasions as well as the exact same 'forest walking' footage in a couple of places too. The funny thing is is that we forgot to shoot a scene where we actually see (or hear) the Hair Bitch for the first time and as a result we start running. So later when we are editing this we decide to use one of the distance walking shots to set up what amounts to an audio event. We did this by going outside at night (around 1am actually) and said some stuff like... "Oh my god, what's that?!" and "run!" then we edited it into this footage of us walking (shot at a far distance so you could not see our mouths moving) and there you go. The very next scene is us running for dear life. The other interesting thing is that we only hade one camera and for these 'distance shots' which you see me walking, holding the video camera, I am infact holding a largish TV remote control that is silver and roughly the shape of a video camera. After this sketch was over we did this sort of cheesy 'lets talk to the actors' bits where we simply adlibbed. Chris said something like... "Yhea, they made me drink all the Dr. Pepper's I opened on screen. I've never felt so bloated in all my life." I could no stop laughing at that. We also shot Chris jumping off a tree stump that appears in the title credits of this episode. One funny note we had to go back and change the opening title screen of this sketch because the line "... in the deep backwoods of Texas" came out reading "... in the deep backwods of Texas". Nice. In the YouTube video you can see the original error.

6.) The final sketch, "Airlock" was shot in a parking garage somewhere in Fort Worth (once again, I cannot say where) but it was a nice quick thing to do and for some strange reason this like 20 second sketch seems to be the most popular of the first 3 episodes. I can't really remember who came up with the idea (it must have been me since there was no lengthy dialogue) but it was simple and effective. All the sounds and voices in this bit were done by me with the exception of the alarm siren. I did the noise of the announcer, the hissing of the air and the blowing noise of the escaping air. The alarm sound was lifted from the movie Sphere.

7.) I thought I would say a little something about the credits too. The credits are roughly the same for all the episodes. I simply changed a few things around and added some names here and there. I liked the idea of having some audio bite at the very end so in each episode there is something silly said. I also wanted to have a title screen with the phrase "and thanks to our arch rival Miguel Cruz" to make everything complete. I used Adobe Photoshop for all these title screens.


8.) For those of you interested enough in learning the where all the 'mysterious' locations we shot all those sketches at (but did not want to reveal) you can be 'clever' and use Google Earth to see the Geo Tag in Fort Worth where this was shot.

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