Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2005: I'm Sorry, Mr. Reeves

Date of Creation: 2005

Synopsis: Darryl Reeves is about to experience the worst (and possibly last) day of his life. With the news of his impending doom occuring moments after his wife leaves him and his stupid mustache, he has mere hours to write her out of his will. Can he make it to his attorney's office before sundown??!!!

A Brief History: Our final entry into the 48 Hour Film Challenge, a festival that gives you only 48 hours to make and submit a movie, I would offer that this was by far our best. Todd Spence gives a stunning performance as Mr. Reeves, and the story moves along nicely. Getting a cop to chase him on a girls bike down a major street was definitely a highlight.

It also led to the improv creation of one of my favorite mantras in life: Think fast, live forever.

Friday, February 15, 2013

2004: Joe

Date of Creation: 2004

Synopsis: God, the just, fair and loving creator of our world, allows the devil to torment and destroy the life of one of his most devoted followers to prove a point. He's kind of a dick.

A Brief History: From the mind of Geoff Tippit comes a modern retelling of the story of Job, which is from the bible or something. As part of his senior thesis, he compiled the greatest minds of Webster University to spearhead one of the most challenging productions to come out of the school.

Countless rolls of film were expended over the course of 6 shooting days, and much fun was had. Performances by Dale D. Moore and Michael Ray Reed easily rank in the top ten performances all time by people with 3 or more names.

This was really a fun shoot, and collaborating with Geoff exemplified a refreshing level of competence and creative confidence. That guy should make some more movies.

I'm pretty sure I still have all of his Beta master tapes of the raw footage too. I wonder if he wants those back.

My fondest memory was probably Eric blatantly hitting on Ross's mom. His euphemisms were endless.

Critical Analysis: Overall, the production value, storyline and final product were remarkably high. Dale's cancer looked more like he was turning into a dalmatian, but special effects makeup was kind of the one thing we didn't have a grasp on quite yet at this point in our education.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

2004: Dial 'M' For Hobo

Date of Creation: 2004

Synopsis: 5 reasonably attractive roommates plot to remove a well-dressed squatter from their domicile and drink very filthy water.

A Brief History: Created for the 48 hour film project in 2004, this was one of the first things I acted as executive producer on, which means I put up the money and smoked cigars. I don't think I really did much else except walk in and cancel a complicated dolly/jib simply because I could.

Directed by the illustrious Bill Parmentier and lensed by the inexalted Dave Jacobsen, this film gave theatrical powerhouse Kevin Stroup his first foray into the big leagues as W.M. Murray, former historian to the White House and avid lover of scotch. Veteran thespian and "Justified" regular Nathan Sutton weaves the three worlds of this complicated, plot-driven storyline with expert precision in both performance and eyebrow grooming.

The title was birthed from the mind of brother Sean; after a lengthy argument about what to call the piece, his spontaneous and transparent theft of a lesser known Hitchcock work soothed even the most reactive mind in the room.

Critical Analysis: The conspiratorial presidential diatribe delivered by Stroup in the bar is a work of brilliant writing, but the true glory lies in the alternate dialogue tracks available ONLY on the DVD ($192.99 amazon.com).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2003: Eviction Notice

Date of Creation: 2003

Via Dan.

Synopsis: Eric and Bill are roommates.  As Bill becomes worse and worse in that relationship, Eric decides to do what he must; Get rid of Bill.

A Brief History: Film 1 is the time in a young man's life when he gets the chance to do what he's always wanted, but then remembers he doesn't have words, sound, or even image quality to get a story across.  Harlan Ellison would cringe at the following statement, but this, at it's core, is a Merry Melody.  A cartoon.  My film professor at the time commented "I do not think this is a very believable story".

Featuring stellar performances by both Eric Enger and Bill Parmentier, a quick amazing performance by our friend Jamahl and his dog, i still really like this once it gets going.  Some of the gags don't work or have the right payoff, but i still think the ending is one of my favorites.

At the time of the making of this film, I was not even living with roommates, so not only is this not autobiographical, it has no basis in reality.  It should be noted that well after this was made, Bill did actually become my roommate...

..Luckily, he never found that box labeled "Property U.S. Government"

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2002: The Impresario

Date of Creation: 2002

Via Dan.

Synopsis: A filmmaker struggles to create the Greatest Movie Ever Made, but with no ideas, he turns to his friends, then his muse.

A Brief History: By senior year in High School, we had begun attending film festivals and seeing other work out there.  The impresario was an attempt to make fun of some of the pretentious nonsense we were seeing.  It became, rather, an excuse to give homage to some of our favorite movies and filmmakers at the time, ranging from the obvious; Welles to musicals, Gene Kelly, war movies, etc.

Funny thing about it was that I really didn't have any ideas for a project, and so it exists as this parallel to actually not knowing what to do, and making a film about that.  It also serves as an excellent retrospective of almost all of our friends at the time and features pyrotechnics, an action scene specifically directed by Nick, cameo by Mr. Mike Wall, and much much more.

Missing from this cut is an ending scene where The Impresario, struck with his lack of good ideas, stumbles upon a burning script in a trash can.  That script; "The Impresario".  Crazy, right?  So not pretentious...

Monday, July 2, 2012

2003: Return of the Rival Guns of Fortune

Date of Creation: 2003

Synopsis: When the discovery of a hidden family secret results in the abduction of a daughter, two rival duos compete to find her before it's too late. And before the other team gets there. And they'll kill each other, apparently. Because they're that serious about winning.

A Brief History: So this was our first involvement with the National Film Challenge, which is essentially the 48 hour film challenge, except national and you have 72 hours to write, shoot, edit and submit your film.

You are assigned a genre, so we, of course were assigned the hardest one: western. We took it in stride though, and found every cowboy-related piece of costuming and paraphernalia we could and slapped it together.

We shot for almost 24 hours straight after spending the first 6 hours of the night writing. I don't remember much else, except that there's a 40 minute documentary on the DVD that everyone who worked on it should've received, so if you really want to know literally everything that went into this thing, that's your best bet.

We did win "best cars" and best in central time zone, as well as finishing in the top ten nationally.

Looking back at this again, after a long time, I have come to the conclusion that Dale is exceptionally gross in this film.

Friday, June 22, 2012

2003: Bud Light Spec Commercials

Date of Creation: 2003

Synopsis: Spec commercials for the Bud Light "It's all Here" campaign.

A Brief History: A project for an advanced cinematography class (I think), roommate and fellow classmate William Jennings and myself decided to do something a little more interesting and useful than photographing trees with the few rolls of super 16 that were handed out to us. So we made a couple of terrible spec commercials.

The main problem with these is mostly that they're 5 and 15 seconds too long, respectively, hence they are ineffective as commercials because you can't buy ad time for 35 seconds.

They did give birth to the catchphrase "Best birthday ERRVER!" though, so I suppose something good did come of them.

There was actually a third one we shot in a bar, but it was pretty awful and I can't seem to find it so. Ah well. It had an irish bartender and a talking beer bottle, if I remember correctly.

Critical Analysis: I actually quite like the alien abduction one. I think if we reshot either of these today they would turn out pretty good.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

2002: 4am Perfection

Date of Creation: 2002

Synopsis:  Just flippin through the channels, seeing what's on TV.

A Brief History: I don't really know. It was Sean's World History project, and apparently he got a B+ on it, which I find hard to believe. I'll let him fill out the cast and post any additional information.

Critical Analysis: Potentially the precursor to GTV2, the Webbies entertainment segment several years later? Slightly disjointed, but wildly entertaining. A fun ride for all. The one kid was particularly believable as DaVinci.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

2002: Welcome to the Majors

Date of Creation: 2002

Synopsis: Rookie reporter Richard Head for KRAP news has to tolerate a hazing from the veteran anchor, Simon Stew.

A Brief History: I don't remember doing this either, I just found the VHS tape laying around. I suppose this was probably a Video 2 project; we were supposed to write and direct our own news broadcast, so I went a little out of my wheelhouse apparently and added a little drama.

Fellow classmates Aaron Aubuchon and Pat Walsh were excellent; they played off the awkwardness perfectly. And were generally good sports about it, considering most of the news broadcasts other students did didn't involve blood or smoking in the studio.

And man, I know I ripped off that Pokemon commercial from somewhere, but that was AWESOME.

Friday, June 15, 2012

2002: Webbies Entertainment Segments - Prologue

Date of Creation: 2002

Synopsis: In the opening to the first Webbies Entertainment segments I worked on in college, a young indiana jones doppelgänger steals the Webbie. The Webbie's been STOLEN!

A Brief History: First of all, for those of you that were hoping to see the rest of this year's webbies, sorry. It's pretty awful anyway and I can't afford the bandwidth. Suffice to say it's a combination of ripping off SNL skits and ripping off Triumph the insult comic. If there's really just a ton of interest, I'll put it up, but there's going to have to be a push.

The opening sequence is pretty endearing though, since it's pretty much a shot for shot remake of the scene in Indiana Jones, somehow shot in Webster's tiny TV studio. We were moving flats back and forth all over the place to try and create an environment that's somehow larger than the studio space.

As bad as the rest of the Webbies was, there was a great callback in the middle of it, when Indiana runs through the game show studio, in which contestants are playing Jeopardy. One of the contestants, Sean Connery, notices Indiana run off and yells, "Junior!" You can probably guess the rest of the exchange.

The one shining star about this Webbies was that it was the first year beginning of a 6 year (maybe even 7?) tradition of one-upsmanship that led to a dynasty of excellence, culminating in the destruction of the entire awards ceremony as a whole. If that's not something to be proud of I don't know what is.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

2002: Strike!

Date of Creation: 2002

Synopsis: A bunch of fellows play a rousing game of baseball.

A Brief History: This has as little history as anything possibly could; as far as I know, Brian and Jim said they wanted to make a video featuring them playing baseball with, well, themselves.

Rather than use any fancy split screens or digital effects, we went low tech and just covered it from various angles, though there is a hilarious shot where Brian is rounding the bases after his homerun where each time he passed jim at the respective bases, Jim had to sprint back around the camera so he could be at the next base in time.

And, like all good baseball movies, it ends in a fight.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

2002: Going Down

Date of Creation: 2002

Synopsis: A man's life falls into jeopardy when he boards an elevator. Should've taken the stairs.

A Brief History: This was Dan's Film 1 project, the first sort of thing you shoot in production classes. We were in good with public safety so we were able to lock down the elevators in the parking garage. We rigged up a bloody headshot effect, the same one we used on "Destinos". It was basically a rubber tube that we stuffed with fake blood and toilet paper, which connected to an air tank with a quick release valve. Pull the valve and the compressed air shoots the blood out the rubber tubing with great force. Instant head shot!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2002: Incubis

Date of Creation: 2002(?)

Synopsis:The strikingly Lovecraftian tale of a man trapped in his own dream, unable to awake, haunted by the inevitability of reality.

A Brief History: I have completely blocked the memory of participating in this film from my mind. I had no recollection at all of shooting it, so when I popped it in and noticed that I was...well, IN it, my brain kind of exploded. I haven't been the same since.

As far as I can tell, this was James Green's film 1 final, it features Joe Klueh and myself, and it's pretty dark, just like James Green, even though I believe he was top dude at the time, so I don't get it.

Critical Analysis: Common sense would dictate that individuals don't accept rides from strangers riding around in AMC Gremlins, but aside from that I have no complaints. Pretty heady and intense for a Film 1 project. I'm impressed.

Additional Notes: I just realized that if you type "gartner archives" into google, the vimeo page for this is the second result, which undoubtedly results in individuals looking for archival market research accidentally clicking on that page, which is hilarious to me.

Monday, June 11, 2012

2001: The New Gremlin

Date of Creation: 2001

Synopsis: A breakthrough in automotive style, class and technology, the AMC Gremlin is reinventing the car.

A Brief History: I'm going to have to count on Dan to fill us in on what exactly this was for, because I don't really know. Suffice to say, I had a blast driving my Gremlin up and down the street in the rain.

Critical Analysis: Hey, this thing holds up! It's a pretty decent commercial, even with my stupid voiceover.

Friday, June 8, 2012

2001: Razorburn

Date of Creation: 2001

Synopsis: A local drug cartel finds a new method of transportation for delivering their product. However, they quickly find that law enforcement has been quick to adopt that method as well.

A Brief History: This was a project for a video 2 class in college, and it was probably the first actual video project I did for my college career. Actually, scratch that. It was my second.

I started off spending the week before shooting a video. I can't even remember what the concept was. I very distinctly remember getting to the Thursday or Friday before it was due the following Monday, being in the edit room...and absolutely hating what I'd done. Like, embarrassingly bad.

Instead of trying to fix it, I just threw everything out the window, came up with another idea, and shot it and edited it as quickly as possible over the weekend. Luckily friends Mike Brasher and Todd Lewis were keen enough to help, and I happened to have a cop uniform on hand just laying around.

Critical Analysis: There are a billion cringeworthy stereotypes and film school character tropes in this, but all that aside I'm still pretty happy with how it cuts, considering it was like 11 year ago. It's kind of a Guy Ritchie meets Paul Greengrass ripoff, but it got me a reputation in Video 2 class that I knew what I was doing. So I had THAT going for me. Plus, there's even "400 Blows" tribute in there!

I do have to say, that's quite a lot of coke for about $80.00 though.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2001: Dot Com

Date of Creation: 2000

Synopsis: Where does wind go? Dot Com is the new fragrance for internet culture.

A Brief History: If memory serves, this was Dan's commercial for video production class (mine was the clam juice commercial), and technology had progressed along significantly further in three years, it appears. The goal was to parody the ridiculousness of fragrance commercials on TV by adding a ridiculous online twist to it. I don't believe we officially licensed Moby's "Honey", so I imagine a lawsuit will be forthcoming.

We borrowed a fellow filmmaker's (Tristan Cook...whatever happened to that guy anyway?) steadicam jr. to do a bunch of sweet camera moves, and found a great fountain location in the innards of some office building, and we were set. I believe the voiceover is some strange combination of Mike Brasher, Dan and myself, depending on who read the line better. Obviously the pitch was lowered and echo added to make it sound REALLY AWESOME.

Critical Analysis: For a cologne commercial, I would say it makes arguably more sense than most.

2001: Grade B Bacon

Date of Creation: 2001

Synopsis: An unlikely partnership forms when two strip mall security guards find themselves at the center of a vast money laundering conspiracy.

A Brief History: I don't exactly remember what this was even for; it might've just been for fun. We had a golf cart at our disposal, might as well use it. Either way, it was created a LONG time before Paul Blart: Mall Cop, so that Kevin James dick totally ripped us off.

We filmed the whole thing in a strip mall on Droste, without permission of course. It was our first experiment with camera mounts, rigging our XL1S to the golf cart frame with C-stand arms and cartellinis.

Myers Heritage plays the mustachioed Vinny, the seasoned private security veteran, and Brian Sturgill is Charles, or Char Daddy, the rookie with something to prove. Supporting cast is Rory Sherony as the thief, with probably the most fantastic wig I've ever seen on a man, and myself as the (mexican?) drug lord running things behind the scenes.

critical analysis: I had completely forgotten we even made this until I came across it the other day, and I'm glad I did. It's pretty entertaining.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

2000: The Real World: San Carlos

Date of Creation: 2000

Synopsis: As the robot will tell you in the beginning, This is the story of 7 people picked by math TV to live in a house and have their lives taped. There is no script, everything you see is real. The Real World: San Carlos.

A Brief History: Completing the trifecta of class projects for classes I was not enrolled in, this was a final project for a Calculus class. The goal was to create a video that illustrated how you might apply calculus in real life.

Everyone really took their characters in stride; Josh Hauser as Bubba was particularly inspired, but I was most impressed by James Milam as Sid. Playing the asshole is always fun. Unless he really was just an asshole, in which case, great casting. I believe that Matt Wall, as Patch, may hold the world record for "Number of Musical Numbers performed about derivatives and functions in a single video." Ankit Patel as Abraham Washington has perhaps my favorite line ever, "My forefathers died for that flag!"

This movie really had everything: masochism, blatant racism, xenophobia, dwarves. You really have to watch it tongue in cheek, otherwise you'll just think we were horrible, horrible people.

I particularly liked the Planet of the Apes tribute.

Critical Analysis: Even though the introductions take up over 1/3rd of the actual movie, I actually still enjoyed them quite a bit. We still hadn't figured out how to make a movie that wasn't just a bunch of montages connected by a fade out, so it's kind of lacking in flow, but overall, it's not nearly as bad as I was expecting.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

2000: Destinos

Date of Creation: 2000

Synopsis: Two hit men are hired to protect an investigator tasked with discovering the events that lead up the disappearance of a rich family's son. They quickly find themselves tangled in a web of deceit, lies, conspiracy and mistaken personality in the tradition of a typical spanish language drama.

A Brief History: This was, believe it or not, a spanish assignment. For, again, a class I was not taking at the time. The assignment was to create your own episode of "Destinos", a film series that students watched in class to, I suppose, get a stronger understanding of spanish culture and further their language skills. But you tell me: http://youtu.be/-_Ex8R06kqY

Either way, Mike and I set out to create an epic, if not slightly off topic, finale for the series. With death! And Drugs! And Car Chases! And Guns! We spent way too long shooting it for a class project. I'm talking 9 or 10 days of solid shooting. And probably a month's worth of edit time crammed into a couple weeks, but we got it done. And I hope Mike and his group got an A.

The movie was obviously, erm, heavily influenced by Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, even borrowing a few...look, okay, it was a straight up rip off. But I like to consider it more of a "mash up". Take these characters, put them in this situation and see what happens. It was a fun exercise. Most people in the group were relatively accommodating to our insane concept, considering they could've just as easily shot a single shot, 2 minute scene in a classroom and still have gotten an A.

Definitely my favorite memory of this shoot was convincing the mayor of st. charles to let us shut down main street for a couple hours so that we could spin a car around and shoot guns out of it. Something like that would've easily cost me $10k to do out in LA. Also, because we were constantly filming after school and scenes took us a really long time to shoot, there are several scenes where it goes from mid day sun to hilariously dark throughout the scene.

Critical Analysis: Disjointed would be an understatement, but maybe I'm being a tad too critical for something I made in high school. I can't believe it's a solid 40 minutes long though, and GOOD GOD it drags sometimes. I also have a little trouble keeping up with what's going on, but that's probably because of the spanish. But the car stunts and squibs were totally balls. The car chase is at about 16 minutes and the fight scene is at about 30 minutes if you want to save yourself some time.

Friday, May 25, 2012

1999: The Epps Geometry Project

Date of Creation: 1999

Synopsis: 3 high school students venture into the woods in search of...geometry. Their academic adventure turns south when strange objects begin appearing around them.

A Brief History: The Epps Geometry Project was, in fact, a geometry project, in which we were supposed to document geometry in nature. The assignment was actually to do photographs, not video, if I remember correctly, but we decided to take it a step further.  In fact, it wasn't even my geometry assignment; it was Dan's.

Mike and I had been taking kenpo lessons at this point so that we could choreograph fight scenes, but I guess we pretty much just threw that out the window and went for pro wrestling moves instead. Or maybe we started taking kenpo shortly after discovering how much we sucked at choreographing fights.

Realizing that 15 minutes of shapes would probably be the most boring thing literally every, we called upon some friends to make cameos to liven things up. Jim Zepp as the old redneck and Brian Cook and Michael J. Cline as the british fisherman added much needed color to the piece.

Critical Analysis: I can fervently defend the awful, awful camera work as visual motif that nods to the original Blair Witch, but the truth is, it's pretty much just awful camera work. Also, why do we bring sleeping bags and a tent for a two hour hike, then sleep on the floor of our shitty tent uncovered?