Last night we filmed 15-second promos for the Improv Challenge. Here's the tale of that little adventure...
I'd been playing e-mail tag with Scott on setting up the time and place to film the commercials, and he realized our schedules wouldn't mesh during the week. And since it needed to be filmed in HD (break out the Clearasil!) and Scott didn't have the right equipment, he gave me the contact info for Joe, the videographer for City Block, and asked me to take it from there.
The promo pieces were an amalgam (love that word!) of bits written by Scott, Carol and myself - mostly Carol. I added a couple of lines in an effort to make it more comedic in nature, but otherwise is packed a lot of info into 15 seconds.
I spent Wednesday night writing the info onto cuecards. To save cash, and to make RedFaery's job of holding them a lot easier, I wrote each spot on one card where she could easily flip it. More on that later...
Thursday at lunch, I studied the words and went over them in my mind, counting off the seconds to make sure I could keep them under or at 15 seconds. Got the timing down pretty well. On the drive home, I read them out loud a few times each (yeah, I was driving and reading - I'm really good at it too!). I think I found a nice level of enthusiam without venturing into "monster truck show announcer" territory.
I pick up RedFaery and head to Joe's house/studio, right when a thunderstorm was rolling in. Wonderful - how many retake was I going to have to shoot due to God's sound effects, I wondered.
Joe was ready for me, and I stood in front of a green screen while he focused in on my head and upper chest - no since scaring folks off with my gut just yet! We decided that each scene we worked on would be one continuous take, and the garbage would be edited out later.
The good points: I think my enthusiam was dead-on perfect, my gestures weren't too wild and distracting, and I kept my eyes wide and expressive (unlike my normal squinting). I think there's enough there for Scott to work with.
The bad points: I'm appearently really bad at reading cuecards - watching my eyes bounce back and forth might be pretty distracting. I'd much rather be making it up as I go - which I will be during the actual show thankfully. Plus I forgot I had a blue pen in my shirt pocket, so there's this annoying blue spot on my chest. Hopefully whatever Scott puts in the background keeps everyone's focus off those negative things.
The funny thing: My effort to save cash and time nearly ruined things. RedFaery was underneath the camera's mic, and flipping the cards make a thunder-like noise - as if we didn't have enough of that to deal with. When she slowed down, I'd miss my cue line. But between her anticipation of the coming lines and me imprinting in my mind the website address (which was always the next line), we got it solved in a couple of minutes. I just hope we make a DVD with a blooper reel - my way of dealing with frustration without swearing involves rattling my head and hopping in place, and I had no choice but to laugh at watching myself!
Next week sometime the commercials will be done, and I'm going to YouTube them and link them everywhere I can think of. Last I knew we had several verbal commitments, but no written ones yet, which is frustrating. Maybe these spots will spur it on more.