Saturday, September 4, 2010

According To Whim: Episode 3 FAQ

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

Episode 3: Curmudgeon -------------------------------------------------

Air Date: June 2005
Production Start Date: February 2004
Production End Date: May 2005
Revisions?: None.


Sketch 1: "Begin Again" The audience arrives at Nathan's again.
Sketch 2: "In Search For Food" Nathan deals with his bad roommate in a creative way.
Sketch 3: "Graveyard" Nathan prepares for work.
Sketch 4: "Viacox Call For Help" Chris' dream.
Sketch 5: "Worry" Chris frets over Nathan's lateness.
Sketch 6: "A Dream Within A Dream" Chris can't seem to wake up, or is it Nathan?
Sketch 7: "Submitting The Show" Nathan visits the public access office.
Sketch 8: "Mailbox Walk" Chris checks the mail for the public access paperwork.
Sketch 9: "Worry More" Nathan realizes he has made a big mistake.


Nathan's Notes:

1.) The opening sketch was shot to look like the opening sketch of episode 1. This time Chris' hand was the hand that knocks instead of James'. It was kind of awkward what with me doing all the talking because I have never been comfortable in front of a camera, or camera-friendly feature wise. We wanted to use the blue screen poster board to bring the comics up but the effect wasn't all that great. This episode took the longest to actually produce. The problem wasn't one of logistics, but of story. What Chris and myself planned to do (I think it was my idea at the time) was to have an episode that was actually one complete story line. That quickly morphed into an episode where each of the sketches were linked somehow, like HBO's Mr. Show. After many ideas on linked sketches and almost a year we finished.

2.) "In Search For Food" was created to a:) make a sketch that showed how a roommate never bought groceries and b:) deal with Chris' inner demons given to him as a child by his mother. For this sketch we emptied out the cupboard and the fridge (and freezer) then I did a sort of Steve Irwin sort of nature host and we went a lookin' for food. The hominy and wine cooler labels were just pieces of paper and a marker. The wine cooler was one of those souvenir bottles you get on vacation that my real roommate, Tuyen loaned me. I totally forgot to check in the freezer in this sketch and after we cleaned it out and everything too. Also as far as I know the bowl of moldy food was still in that fridge more than a year later. I left it when I moved out. I wonder if my mom cleaned it out after she moved back in?

3.) The 'Graveyard' sketch was something Chris came up with and we shot very quickly. We spoke our lines and added in the ominous bell sound in post. I think at the time we shot this I was still working at my graveyard shift job (but I could have already moved on to working back at EB Games). We had to shoot this sketch to lead in to the "Viacox or "Dead End" dream sketch. The final bit where Chris is show with his shirt off and says goodnight is actually part of the "Worry" sketch that I had to cut down for time. Chris actually spends quite some time showing the audience this long chest hair he has. Never the less I felt this could be trimmed (the sketch, that is) and I cut it for time.

4.) The "Viacox" bit was one of the first sketches we shot. This location was on the side of a building (I cannot mention which, but it is in North Fort Worth). I simply walk down after Chris in a menacing way. You can clearly see my shadow holding a camera. I added a heartbeat (from the Haunted Mansion ride soundtrack) and me talking as the call for help button. I used GoldWave to remove all bass out of my voice so it sounds like a phone call or something similar.

5.) "Worry" was our actually first big sketch. It might have even been the first sketch we shot for According To Whim. The premise was simple; Chris is worried that I have not come home or called. He frets over this while playing his GayStation 2. Chris thought it would be funny to string along a bunch of game titles and "Gay-ize" them. The Hims (Sims), Men Hunter (Man Hunter), etc... Chris then writes a list of a possible reasons of my lateness in which we did a voice over later. He also makes a call to some Asian dude. Once again, let me state that Tuyen is not an actor. This couple of seconds of dialogue was hard to get. Tuyen is also a lens looker. Every time he his done with a line he immediately looks at the camera lens. So this shot cuts out pretty fast since as soon as he was done with his line he looks at the camera lens. Anyway, I show up at the front door but I am apparently dead. This is where the sketch ends. We had to shoot the next sketch months later to get our selves out of this predicament.

6.) Chris wakes up from this horrid dream. The next series of events I lifted and modified from An American Werewolf In London. Chris thinks he is awake but we soon discover he is still asleep. Again and again he is scared out of his wits and woken up. He is having a dream within a dream over and over again. To throw and even further twist to this it appears it's me who is the one dreaming and I finally wake up. I really like this over the top idea and I'd to do it again in the future and spend more time and make it work nicer. Nathan then tells Chris he is headed to the Public Access office to get an application for the show.

7.) If anything was ever going to get us kicked off of public access its the "Submitting Our Show" sketch. I think I offend just about every religious group out there. This sketch features me talking to me. Ah ha, but one of the mes is sporting a false goatee (felt goatee that is) and glasses. I shot this sketch in like 10 minutes at our favorite 'abandoned' music company in the little lobby. You see me sitting behind the desk but there was no chair there. It's me kinda squatting a bit. I say my lines, make minor costume adjustments and get on the other side of the desk and say some lines and wham, I am done. Later in post I added phone noises and (most clever of all) I add the signs you see on the walls. 2 Public Access rules signs and an exit sign on the door. I added them in with Photoshop. With all this in place I make fun of how public access works and what they show. Frankly I'm surprised I haven't been killed yet.

8.) "Mailbox Walk" was shot more than a year later the previous sketch. Ever lived in the country? If so then you know how far it can be to your mailbox. Chris walks to the mailbox to see if the show was accepted for broadcast. Most of this sketch was shot in the same 50 foot area in the back of my house. We just moved back to the beginning of the yard and shot the next walking scene. I intercut some shots of Chris' shoes walking to merge the pieces together. In one scene Chris takes out his phone (I am the one calling in the sketch). I inserted the ring tone in post. I made the tone low until he pulls it out of his pocket. It worked real good. There is another scene where he is mowing but to get the effect to work right I added in the noise so I could fade in on it. When Chris walks up to the mailbox and opens it we simply put the camera into the mailbox. It looks pretty cool.

9.) The last sketch in the episode "Worry More" was my effort to just get the damn episode finished. Chris and myself had talked and talked about how we were going to move the episode along after "Mailbox Walk" (and earlier, "Submitting The Show"). We could never agree and get going on shooting some more 'lead in - lead out' sketches so one day I decided to just DO SOMETHING. I shot this extremely long sketch that wasn't all that funny. Even in it's trimmed down state it still isn't that funny. The premise was that I sent in the show but accidentally sent in "Females Gone Insane: Spring Break Edition" in it's place. I then use a prop to time travel and stop myself from sending it. The parts that are cut out are a waking up scene, a elongated visit to the toilet scene, some lines I say to Chris while I am getting ready to put the tape in the envelope, and some dialogue I have with my self at the end of the sketch. Much to my surprise when I was finished editing this sketch it filled in the rest of the episode and then some.

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