The Lab – Production Log Pickup 03

So it got to the point where I knew what clips I was going to use, and I had my script for my dialogue. I had already finalized my intro, and “all” I had to to do for the credits was edit the template. Unfortunately, I messed that up because I didn’t keep track of how many “special thanks” I had. The way I did it, when I looked at the credits, they looked normal. I hadn’t recognized that a row of people I wanted to thank had fallen beneath the frame, and wasn’t showing up on the screen. The only reason I noticed this at all was because I looked at the credits after compressing and uploading the video, and I noticed that the bottoms of the letters on the lowest names on the list were slightly cut off. In my curiousity about how this could be possible, I realized that there were two more names that completely didn’t show up at all in the credits. When I increased the font for the names, the lowest ones got pushed off the bottom of the screen. Adjusting everything higher in the frame and recompressing took care of that. 🙂 So the initial 6 or 7 people that downloaded episode 05 with Democracy Player got the version with the incorrect credits. 😀

I put people in my “special thanks” section that I could remember offhand and that I could go back to my comments and see had given me constructive criticism or something that was useful to me as support in doing this 3rd (Technically episode 05) episode of “The Lab”. Based on comments that Justin Kownacki, creator of Something To Be Desired made, as well as things I’ve noticed about internet shows and understandings I’ve achieved through myriad conversations with Dre, I intend to do more with viewers and commenters than say “thanks for the info” and keep on rollin’. I agree with Justin that the future of internet shows is interactivity. I wanted to make sure I mentioned some of the key people that gave me the energy that eventually became “The Lab” Episode 05.

Unfortunately, having everything together isn’t the end… it’s the beginning. You still have to make it happen. You still have to deliver the lines you wrote with the intention with which you wrote them. Without that, all the surrounding elements are perfectly worthless. As I mentioned in Recording Episode 01 of “The Lab”, “performing” dialogue isn’t as easy as it looks, AND it’s an emotional drain… or maybe it’s not a drain… Perhaps it’s the opposite… an emotional high that you go on and then you’re released from it at the end of the process when you wrap, and that’s what feels like a drain. Either way, it’s not something you want to do when you’re not in the mood to do it. I’m very glad I’m not a peformer, because I wouldn’t be interested in doing that every day…. not even MOST days or even SEVERAL days! 😀 Putting in my hour in front of the camera once a week is WAY more than enough for me.

Doing my lines was easier for me this week, because I’m pretty much “over” the process. I’ve already done it enough times to know that I *CAN* do it and approximately how long it takes me to do it. I was more in a “get it over with” mode than a “get the lines perfectly the way I want them” mode. It still took me 45 minutes to do, because until you physically say the lines over and over, they’re not natural enough to “perform” them AND remember what the next set of lines is. I remember looking at one section in particular and thinking “Damn… I shouldn’t have written so much stuff!” 😀 It was something like three full sentences with a break point at each one of them, so as I was finished “performing” section 1, I had to start ‘loading’ section 2 so I could pass through seamlessly as if it were ‘stream of consciousness’. Like I’m writing this right now as it comes to me, but if I had to SAY all of this stuff… in a row… in one take… it would take me forever to practice it long enough to have it seem like natural conversation. I could probably repeat it verbatim very quickly, but I would sound like a robot… worse than when people read information off of teleprompters that they really have no technical knowledge about.

continued…

Joost for Mac build pulled

The Joost for Mac build was pulled today [link: 19/02/07: Mac build pulled]. Fortunately, I already have mine. 😀

Basically, the idea behind Joost is video on demand with extras like widgets for a clock, jabber chat, chat with others on the same channel you’re watching, the ability to rate the video you’re watching, a notice board and a news ticker.

With Joost, you can select and de-select channels. I currently have 31 channels. You can add or remove them via the “Channel Catalog”. Each channel is responsible for its own programming. There are some that specialize in short videos and others that have full documentaries or films reaching 90 minutes in length or more.

You choose “My Channels”, choose a channel from the list that appears as an overlay while your current video is still running, scroll that list to a show you’d like to check out and click on it. ~5 seconds later, you’re watching something completely different.

I wasn’t too familiar with Joost (formerly named “The Venice Project”) before I received my beta-tester invite from Jay Dedman [http://jaydedman.pbwiki.com/], so I can’t review at this point whether Joost IS what it’s creators wanted it to be. I’ll have to do more research on it.

What I can say is that the response is very quick for those of you that have ADD when it comes to television. 😀 You know those people that can’t watch a television channel for more than one second before hitting the “next station” button! 😀 The current video keeps playing while you channel-surf to your heart’s content with the mostly-transparent overlay. You can change the channels you have available and browse those channels as well without leaving the current video.

You can also search for videos with key words… like “chicks” (1 entry) or “cars” (9 entries). You can then save your search as a channel. That way, you don’t have to search a bunch of channels to find car videos or you can find videos not specifically on car channels.

It remains to be seen how many channels will be available to choose from. I’ll also be interested to see how often they change the material on each channel. If you’re a television enthusiast, you’ll enjoy the flexibility and video on demand of Joost.

Meanwhile…

There’s an issue amongst the videoblogging community as far as what groups are going to be allowed to present programming carried by Joost. The way Joost is set up, it’s the perfect opportunity to present independently produced content that’s already up and running on the web to a new audience. The question is what the criteria is going to be for consideration for acceptance as a channel. From what I’ve seen so far in the beta test, shows like Zadi Diaz & Steve Woolf’s JetSet Show [http://jetsetshow.com/] or Justin Kownacki’s Something to be desired [http://somethingtobedesired.com/] would blend in seamlessly to Joost’s current offerings, either as their own channels or individual shows on a designated “independent channel”.

We’ll see how it all shakes out. 🙂 Anyway… If you’re a MSM (Main Stream Media) television enthusiast, you’ll enjoy the Joost beta test, so see if you can get your hands on an invite when they open it back up! 😉

Bill Cammack • New York City • Freelance Video Editor • alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

re: Justin Kownacki’s STBD SOTU 2007

re: Justin Kownacki’s STBD SOTU 2007

Brilliant assessment & planning, Justin. 🙂

I’ve been watching STBD since about the middle of last season, and I’ve seen some of the archived episodes. My impression of it was “the life in general of several people that happen to know each other because of professional and personal affiliations”. Since I started watching after the show became more spread out, the radio station didnt actually have anything to do with anything for me. I saw a couple of episodes where they were saying they were selling the station or shutting down, and I saw it as more of a removal of a location than something really important to the show’s storyline.

I suppose the speed of the storylines is as dependent upon how much time the producers & editors are willing to spend crafting them as it is upon how often the actors in a particular scene (and the crew to shoot it) are available at the same time. It’s much easier and faster to cut a more slowly-paced episode than a fast-paced one that requires more cutting and therefore more continuity between the scenes. OTOH, the faster the scenes are paced, the more storylines you can fit into the same amount of time, or you can cut your show lengths down. Another consideration is the effect of changing pacing on the “feel” of the show. Regardless of the choice of pacing inside one scene or one episode, looking at the pacing over time, such as “how many episodes will it take to get this character from finding out about an issue to resolving or becoming consumed by that issue” is very important. Soap operas drop something and the resolution doesn’t happen for the next two weeks (10 episodes). Sit-coms achieve resolution within 30 minutes to an hour. I think that having the IRL timelines of plots in the script locked down is going to be crucial for STBD moving into your new production / business / community plan.

Regarding the lack of unification because of so many characters, STBD definitely needs to have a searchable way to track specific characters. One of your additions in your web site plan needs to be a text-based, searchable episode list with links and tags based on the characters in each episode. If someone watches an episode and wants to learn more about Caroline, there needs to be a way for them to quickly pull up the sequence of episodes with Caroline and/or her storyline in them. She might not be in the actual show, but something that happens in that show is relevant to the development of her character or someone involved with her. Of course, that’s easier said than done, and it’s easier to start off with a text-based cast/crew listing like IMDB has, so that at least fans can create a list of the episodes that the character they’re following is in and possibly create RSS feeds so they can follow along when that character’s next episode comes out. Overall, I think that spinning off shows based on popular storylines is a great idea. 🙂

The “heightened conflicts” issue is very important and IMO drives the IRL timelines of an episodic production like STBD. The show has to move quickly enough to keep people interested in the conflict. Unfortunately, this is a lot easier to deal with in a situation where the resolution is definitely going to occur “soon” like in a show that is completely done after every episode or a mini-series that’s going to be over after the sixth episode. In the HBO series “Rome”, you knew that by the end of the season, Caesar was going to be dead…. I mean, assuming you knew about these things to begin with. That leads to situations of heightened conflicts, but also “lack of conflict” as you know that Caesar’s going to be stabbed to death by people including Brutus, so there’s a complete lack of suspense in his character’s part when he’s on a campaign or in a war or something. OTOH, you never know if the other characters are going to live or die in the situations they get involved in. The heightened conflict is that even though they’re the stars of the show, they’re expendable in the grand scheme of things.

I think “The Sopranos” is more relevant to STBD. In the first season, guys were dropping like flies, because the focus was to show the struggle for posession, survival and success in organized crime. As time went on, there were fewer characters that they were able to develop to the point of being so important either to the characters in the show or to the viewer that they needed to be “rubbed out”. “The Sopranos” settled into being more “Tony’s home life” oriented and stable, which was a turn-off to many of the viewers that were originally so interested in the show because of action, violence and not knowing who was going to “go” next. It’s kind of like “Now that Tony’s made it to the top, what’s there to do? What stories are left to tell?”. STBD (at this point at least) seems to be about the ongoing lives of people that don’t really have any conflicts other than where they’re going to work or whom they’re dating. Similar to Tony Soprano’s settled life in the later seasons, it’s tough to create & heighten conflict in an environment like that. I see it more as being the “fly on the wall” as these people live their lives than watching something that’s potentially volatile.

Overall, I enjoy STBD and I’m looking forward to seeing where this new vision takes you. Much of what you mentioned requires planning, and planning takes time and time is money, so hopefully your monetization plans work out so that the people involved will be able to devote more time and energy to the show.

Good Luck! 😀

oh… either way… make sure you remember that…

“women wanna SEE it & men wanna BE it!” 😀