Feb 27, 2010
I assume that many wonder why I bother to advertise so many of the little milestones that I hit with my blog or projects. The truth is that I do it because it's any easy way to prove to myself that all the effort I put into these ventures is actually worth it. Sometimes when the feedback isn't flowing, these little milestones are just the thing to make me see the results of my time.
Look at this blog for example. The work it took to get it to this point, to develop the variety of content, to design the layout, etc; it's been fine-tuned to represent my specific style, my portfolio, my history - I'm selling myself and my creativity to further establish my strength as an editor. Trying to get people to care and take interest in your creative ambitions is always a challenge, but I feel I've gone out of my way to resolve my own excuses.
My online achievements also represent the difference between basing a blog on someone else's work and uploading other people's videos in comparison to building something from scratch. These numbers can certainly be topped, but I take a great deal of pride in knowing that I've had 75,000 people stop by this site because they were either interested in my content or I did something to direct them here. If I were to stop caring I know the views would dry up pretty quick, and I suppose that's as much of a motivator as any. I want to make it clear that I'm still just as excited as ever to see my projects grow and my site gain popularity.
If you care enough about anything there's always a good reason to celebrate. So, thank you guys for your continued support and interest in my videos, content, and for all the added motivation in keeping my spirits up and my resume expanding!
Feb 24, 2010
To say that my Indio Outio Project is a work in progress just doesn't quite sum things up at this point. It's now been half a year since that memorable road trip took place, and with exception to creating an elaborate coffee table book with my pictures, I haven't really done much with the hours of footage I shot up until now - that doesn't mean I wasn't trying though.
The biggest challenge was deciding on how I wanted to present the finished project, which ultimately influenced the kind of video(s) I was going to make. Originally, I thought I'd be leaning towards more of a personal-doc, similar to the lengthy Rushmore project I made in 2007. However, and if you click over to check out Rushmore, you'll see I ended up cutting that project down into select clips so that it was easier to share online. This reminded me of a legitimate issue with online screenings and had me thinking that even if I did make an elaborate 20 to 30 minute video, who, besides close friends, would actually stick around to watch it?
It was this problem particularly that had me hung up and re-editing portions of my footage several times from September through December. Should the video be just for me or do I want to share it? Well, I want to share it.
As several months had passed from the time of the trip it only became harder to address the footage and come up with a unifying theme - another big issue because of the variety of locales my friend Dave and I visited over a single week.
So here's where I'm at now, and I'm happy to report that the Indio Outio project is finally nearing completion after a renewed view that simplicity was definitely the way to go. I've cut together montage-style edits of each of the major locales or portions of the road trip that I shot from Alberta to California in August 2009. What I intend to do is release each of these edits as individual posts before finally summing up the entire project with a featured entry about the complete experience.
This scrapbook style is not only ideal for online viewing - say someone just wants to see a video of Salvation Mountain or Newport Beach - but it also gives me the chance to frame each section of the trip and put the various experiences into context.
A lenghtier project would've required a lot more energy on the viewers part, and let's be honest, most people just want a quick clip on YouTube. It's also the reason that I chose music that was relevant to what we listened to on the trip to cut my clips to as opposed to narrating everything (again, for the sake of keeping the edits versatile for the average viewer). Plus, a project like this is more about showcasing my editing style anyway.
My individual blog posts will help develop more of a back story, which will provide further insight for those who are interested. It's also a way to add that journal/personal-doc element that I originally wanted to incorporate.
I've also created a new 'Indio Outio Project' tab on this blog so you can check out all the updates (along with the complete edits as they appear) to unify both the trip itself and the experience and reasoning behind the process of making it happen (or not happen as six months have flown by).
To kick things off I thought I'd share a part of the original intro that I made for the Indio Outio Project back in September 2009. This clip is also where the first preview for the project came from. I'm sharing this now because my intent is to have a brand new narrated introduction that I can use to preface all the varied edits I'll be uploading and use it as a header for a video playlist.
Check back soon as the edits start to appear, and for now, enjoy this glimpse of how the project originally started out.
Feb 22, 2010
At the end of last year I was working with Stream Media on several projects, but perhaps one of the most enjoyable was the promo/contest video I was hired to make (along with the Stream team) for the Medicine Hat College.
What was particularly memorable about this project (which was completed in mid-January) was that I was actively involved from start to finish. Often I work strictly in post-production these days, but this time around I was asked to be part of the pre-production creative process and was able to see a lot of my ideas carried out.
In looking back at this assignment it's clear to see what a great group experience I had with Stream and how by borrowing on each of our strengths we managed to come up with something that we were all quite proud of.
I've been no stranger to working with the College over the last several years that I've been at Stream, and have had my hand in everything from MHC's athletics promotion to their recruitment videos - both as an editor and videographer. Of the edits that I've helped produce, the College pieces are by far some of the most varied and fun assignments that I've done for any single client.
As part of the Medicine Hat College's 'Face of MHC' campaign, in which students have a chance at winning free tuition among other rewards, the focus has been to find a student to document their experiences while showcasing all the different things going on at the College. It's exactly the kind of contest/opportunity that I would've been all over - had I been going to school there that is.
To be a part of the brainstorming process to come up with a promo idea is always fun because you get to see the evolution of rough ideas and concepts. Even when it's difficult, it's amazing to see how a video takes shape just by throwing ideas around. You throw something in the pot, take something out, add a dash there, and purge a lot of leftovers - it's a good way to bond. Of the few times that I've done this, especially now that it's with people I know quite well, it can be energizing to see how others can take your ideas and turn them into something you may not have thought of (and vice versa).
Originally, the idea for this project was to create a single edit. During our initial creative meeting I actually pushed the idea to create a short series of spots to establish more of a vignette of the college and the students who go there - both Stream and the College were keen on the idea and as added motivation for myself, I got to see my vision of the project being fulfilled with the creative contributions of everyone else involved.
I was not part of the shooting, but with Stream working closely with the College, some great candid footage of actual MHC students was captured. The real challenge was that each of these spots had to be exactly 30 seconds, which is a tight timeline to really establish anyone. Ultimately, it provided me another great opportunity to further test my editing style.
The work that the Stream team put into shooting these spots translated into the job I was able to do editing. It can be incredibly challenging trying to get real people to show some personality on camera, but in all 3 videos I think things went better than expected. In short, the project came together fairly seamlessly and in the end both MHC and us were really pleased.
These promos are simple and to the point, and for their intended purpose I think they feel both genuine and playful. I'm really pleased with what we were all able to come up with. The actual contest page for the Face of MHC can be seen on the Medicine Hat College's website here.
In the meantime, check out the 3 promos I cut last month.
Medinant - Face of MHC
Marcus - Face of MHC
Malorie - Face of MHC
Feb 21, 2010
I'm sure you've wondered how you'll be remembered thousands of years from now or maybe you've even gone out of your way to try and leave your mark - but in all seriousness we'll probably be remembered exactly like the Beatles in this hilarious clip from scottgairdner.com.
Feb 19, 2010
When lead singer David St. Hubbins deadpanned, "There's such a fine line between stupid and clever" I knew I was hooked. With the pitfalls and brief moments of success experienced by the band, there perhaps isn't a better quote to sum up the brilliance that is the rockumentary This is Spinal Tap.
The fictional metal group Spinal Tap was first brought to the big screen by fictional director Marty DeBergi (Rob Reiner) in 1984's This is Spinal Tap. I first saw it back in 2002, and at the time didn't have much of an idea what a mockumentary (fake documentary) really was. Shows like The Office and Reno911 now have the format down to a science, and even Christopher Guest, who plays one of the members of Spinal Tap, went on to star in and direct popular fake-docs like 2000's Best in Show and 2006's For Your Consideration.
It's without question that part of my love for This is Spinal Tap comes from its historical context - how it was one of the first mainstream attempts at the mock-genre, how it fused comedy with profound themes about identity and misogyny in rock/metal culture, and how along with mocking and playing into the stereotypes of rockstars, actually managed to create a successful/memorable group (outside of the movie Spinal Tap actually toured briefly).
I remember back in 2003 I wrote an essay about the film for a documentary studies class, commenting on Tap's handling of themes like sexuality, masculinity, and pop culture in general. My paper may have just been an excuse to watch the movie over and over again to call it research, but there is a message. Spinal Tap's charm and some of the most insightful moments come from the groups social commentary about their own position (raising questions like are rockstars really supposed to be role models?). These messages are delivered in an often blunt and precarious manner leading to laugh after laugh (as the group shows, a life of excess often makes it difficult to stay grounded enough for anyone to take you seriously).
Complications for the group revolve around their failing US tour, a racy new album cover, a Yoko-esque girlfriend, problems in management, and a series of mishaps on stage. It's an homage to rock history and the struggles that have plagued hundreds of groups. As a fan of almost all music, I found it easy to get sucked into this realistic world inhabited by characters desperate to fulfill their unrealistic expectations.
The boys of Tap are generally quite content in their bubble, but the realities of the world outside the tour bus seem to overwhelm them as every problem is merely a symptom of a much larger and ongoing conflict. They just want to live 'the dream', but little hiccups (which continue to snowball into bigger ones) keep interrupting. The documentary format allows for some great improvisation and banter, and although it's staged it comes across as relatively honest and revealing. You may not respect the group, but you do come to feel for them.
In yet another set back, the manager declares, "They're not going to release the album, because they've decided the cover is sexist" to which bandmate Nigel replies, "What's wrong with being sexy?".
The layers of the film are fun to explore. The history of the group is well established from their flower-child start in the sixties to their later transition into metal in the late seventies and early eighties. With brief interviews about their various albums and transitions, their lust for the stereotypical rock'n roll lifestyle ultimately comes into question and addresses how important the music really is.
Throughout this back story a recurring joke continues to pop-up about the band's past drummers, who only ever last a few years because of completely random and haphazard deaths. In an interview with DeBergi, Nigel recalls the passing of one drummer and quips, "You can't dust for vomit".
And who can forget the ever popular, "but this goes to eleven, it's one louder" from the hilarious interview scene between Nigel and DeBergi. Delievered with the confidence (or rather ignorance) of a rockstar, the scene in which DeBergi gets a demo of some of the bands equipment only reaffirms that nothing is ever easy to explain when it comes to sex, drugs, and rock'n roll.
If you have a love of music, or really, just a love of comedy it seems hard to go wrong with Tap. For all that the film did in paving the way for the mock-doc genre, for it's comment on rock culture, for it's own strong contributions to music (the soundtrack is also full of original and brilliant material), and for the wit and ignorant charm delivered by the boys of the group, This is Spinal Tap is undoubtedly in my rock, and movie hall of fame.
If you happen to pick up the DVD be sure to listen to the commentary track where the boys explain (in character) how DeBergi edited the film to make them look bad. It's like a brand new movie to hear them comment on the experience of being filmed.
"But enough of my yack'n, let's boogie!"
Feb 18, 2010
It's my pleasure to introduce a site that I've taken quite a liking to in the last few weeks, The Smalls. With original narrative short films uploaded from a variety of users, relevant filmmaking content and tips, and links to other film opportunities, this is a site that I've found very easy to explore and use as a resource for my own independent filmmaking.
As someone who has tried to make the most of what the internet has provided for independent filmmakers, more recently I've been scoping out sites that (unlike YouTube) are focused entirely on narrative/creatively produced content. Finding a forum or forums to showcase your work is paramount to getting your name and work out there, and I've found myself shifting attention to smaller venues that potentially offer more targeted views. While many of these sites aren't the biggest or most popular, the people who use and view them are exactly the kind of people that you'd want giving you feedback on your films. For that, sites like The Smalls can be a valuable creative gauge to hold your work up against and challenge you to push yourself further.
I have yet to upload anything here because I've been too busy exploring others work (and just haven't got around to it yet), but I can see myself using sites like this as motivation to create a more ambitious and refined short film in the near future. I've been saying it for a while now that I'd like to see myself put energy into single project for a longer period of time to produce something on a more professional and somewhat larger scale than what I've done so far.
The Smalls is a site that was forwarded to me by a good friend so I can't take credit for the find, but you can expect me to be highlighting sites like this more regularily in the coming months. I hope to use this site to highlight my own projects very soon, and in the meantime I'll continue enjoying what others are up to - check it out for yourself!
Feb 15, 2010
As an extension of the Travel category in my video portfolio at editingluke.com, I recently created a brand new map page where by clicking on the stars you can watch an associated edit with that location.
I actually created a DVD several years ago with this layout, which actually kicked off my focus on cutting together brand new postcard edits. With the flexibility of my new site, I thought this would be another great interactive way of getting people to check out my projects.
Edits range from Vegas to Alaska to Mount Rushmore to Ottawa and Disneyland. This new addition also comes on the verge of my long awaited Indio Outio edits to debut - more on that soon. For now, click on over to the Editing Luke portfolio and check out the Travel section by following the portfolio link. A view of every page on the new site can also be seen simply by clicking the 'Site Overview' tab on the homepage.
Feb 13, 2010
In my experience the open road leaves no shortage of time to talk, listen, argue, laugh, and to get to know your fellow travelers a bit better - much is true for the cast of characters journeying to California in their bright yellow VW Microbus in Little Miss Sunshine directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.
At first glance it's easy to dismiss. You'd assume from the previews that the characters are sufficiently quirky, deliver sharp one-liners on cue, and ultimately see the error of their ways to reform their flaws by the closing credits. While the formula may be recognizable, in actuality this refreshing dramedy allows its subjects to remain wonderfully flawed in an effort to explore just how bold you have to be to embrace your own diversity.
To me Little Miss Sunshine embodies a simple honesty making it easy to digest while still giving you something to sink your teeth into. On a road trip to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant we're taken on a journey of weakness, uncertainty, and realization, covering all our bases with the mash-up of personalities along for the ride. But the drive of the movie, quite literally, is a story about finding comfort in your own skin and pushing through the unexpected speed bumps - bumps that are potentially too heavy to handle alone.
From a mother's inability to keep her family focused, a son's dashed dreams, or a father's struggle to live up to his own words, the characters in Little Miss Sunshine all have a common awareness of their limitations. Although there's no clear cut resolution or easy answer to any of their problems, it's through brief moments of clarity that they each begin to see that the lives they lead are of value to those around them - the domino effect of these discoveries only helps to broaden the story in addressing the universal nature of their woes.
They're messages we've heard over and over again: be happy with what you have, be happy with yourself, love, accept, share . . . and these are tough sentiments to crack. But, those messages are developed in Little Miss Sunshine in small gestures; a supportive hand on a shoulder, a few kind words, simple expressions, and moments of silence. A slow drive provides the perfect backdrop for the solace and reflection required. The movie says everything you want to hear without much glorification, political correctness or grandeur. It's about underdogs that you feel for, relate to, and believe in. On screen it feels genuine.
On top of all this (thankfully) it has a comedic sense that encourages you to laugh at everyday life and those little occurrences and slip ups that when personally experienced we only find the humor in after the fact. Mind you, if you've actually seen anything like the climax of this film in reality you're probably in a more select group than the rest of us. We can continue to dream though.
The characters are twisted, but not overbearing; they're outcasts, but they compliment each other perfectly. It's a combination that clicks perfectly into place making it fun to watch time and time again. In an optimistic euphoria, Little Miss Sunshine is a bit of reassurance that no matter who you are everything is going to be alright - I for one believe it's true. We should all be so lucky to discover our own 'Super Freak'.
Feb 11, 2010
Late last night (after 33 months, several hundred uploads, and keeping a close eye on the numbers all week) my combined online video views from YouTube, Yobi.tv, and Vimeo surpassed the 500,000 mark! That's half a million to those of you not familiar with written numbers - and even to those of you who are for that matter.
In many ways it's tough to even find the energy to celebrate the milestone knowing how much effort it took, and continues to take, just to get people to tune in. I've often thought about how uploading a Family Guy episode would be an easier way at getting people to visit my channel - pointless, but easier. One million views . . . now there's something to celebrate. I best get to it then . . .
Thanks for watching folks!
Feb 10, 2010
A single a day keeps your creativity in play.
Join me as I share some of my fav tunes in an effort to pay the inspiration forward.
Inspired Singles: Issue 07 by Luke Fandrich
That Was Me by Paul McCartney
A driving and crunchy mix, McCartney's song from his relatively recent album Memory Almost Full is nostalgic, direct, and upbeat. In a self-gratifying way, this is a great tune to belt out.
Turn This Boat Around by Matt & Kim
Simple lyrics, bouncy keyboards, and a childlike ambience - Turn This Boat Around from Matt & Kim's album, Grand, is a fun track. Fused with that indie-sensability I can easily picture this song in a Wes Anderson movie.
Gimme Sympathy by Metric
With a strong beat, synth flair, catchy chorus, and lyrics questioning 'who'd you rather be, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones?' I can't help but love this song. The music video only sealed the deal for me - nice one-take concept switching up the performers. Check it out for yourself.
Feb 9, 2010
It was right at the beginning of this year that I first discovered the blog, Fast, Cheap Movie Thoughts. What really hooked me was that it was similar to my goals with my Cinematic Acrobatic interview series in having other filmmakers talk about their work and experiences - these people just happened to be industry professionals.
It continues to be a great resource and a fun read for anyone interested in the realities of making a movie commercially.
What I really enjoy about Fast, Cheap Movie Thoughts is that the people who are talking about their work are tackling a variety of different projects and genres. With comments from writers, directors, cinematographers, etc. I hadn't heard of the majority of the people, but I could recognize some of their work. In fact, the real charm of the blog is that these aren't discussions with Spielberg or Scorsese, these are true behind the scenes/indie filmmakers/industry workers who talk about the industry (often) from a point of struggle and sacrifice just to find more work, complete what they're doing, or to choose between the mainstream job or passion project.
That isn't to say that these people aren't as talented or skilled as the 'big' names, the blog just puts them in a context that makes them easy to identify with - the 'real people' behind movies not the celebrity persona's. The entries come off as real conversations and not promotional puff, which is a nice change from anything you'd come across in Entertainment Weekly.
For an informative and fascinating sample of different filmmaking backgrounds and stories, check out Fast, Cheap Movie Thoughts. And on a sidenote, the blog was ranked as one of the 50 best blogs for filmmakers by Moviemaker Magazine.
Feb 8, 2010
My friend Tyler Cyrenne has regularly showcased my videos on his blog and I thought it was about time I returned the favor and showcased a few of his. With an equally passionate view of filmmaking, Tyler and I have often challenged each other and used competition to improve our projects. Film school saw many 3am meetings at Mac's to discuss how our assignments were unfolding.
In addition to the several shorts that he's helped me with (Buick to the Future Series, We Two Kings) he responded to be part of the 2nd issue of my column, Cinematic Acrobatic. His interview can be read here. Without a doubt, getting to know Tyler through film school resulted in a lot of good memories and projects that we still joke about today.
Check out his blog, Don't Make Charlie Angry and view a few of my favorite Angry Charlie videos below.
Feb 7, 2010
In the midst of developing my portfolio site there was a lot of additional work that went specifically into how I was going to promote it. At work I spent a lot of my breaks writing out descriptions and phrases that I thought would fit into a promotional video or as part of posts here. The portfolio site is now up and running (although I'm still tweaking a few pages) but I thought it would be interesting to share one of the rough notes I'd written about the site during its early stages.
I'm finding that a lot of my new approach is as much a lesson in marketing as it is about actually producing videos. No surprises there, but for those doing the same thing I thought I'd share some of my own thought process and rough ideas. And yes, a promo video for the new site is in the works. I'm finding I'm in competition with my previous achievements, using them as a marker for how I can one up myself. This mindset is clear in my note below and a lot of the promo stuff I share.
CLICK NOTE TO ENLARGE
Feb 4, 2010
This month effectively marks 13 years since Fandrix Productions was established. I'll downplay all this by also saying that I was only 12 years old when this happened - a feat still worth celebrating however (at least I think so) as keeping an arbitrary name from childhood into adulthood is likely easier said than done.
For the full story behind the name you can check out my earlier post - Why Fandrix Productions?
What's actually significant about this milestone is that I'm bringing back some familiar branding to open my videos. The very first logo for Fandrix was a stylized old TV with rabbit ears (see below). This evolved over the years, never really going away, but from project to project it was the name (and not the logo) that stayed the same.
ORIGINAL FANDRIX PRODUCTIONS LOGO
In 2006, with a high-end HDV camera in hand, I decided it was time to reinvent my TV logo - this time using a real one. I went to a local pawn shop and picked up a white rabbit eared television and as the very first project I ever shot with my Sony HDR-FX1, created a new introduction.
While the intro itself was never used, elements of that footage ended up in numerous promos that I've cut over the last few years including, I'm Luke I'm Fandrix and my Editor Profile. If you've watched any of my promos you've probably noticed this footage used several times, and that the location the intro was shot at was also the rooftop I've used for much of my Editing Luke branding.
The brand new 2010 logo is part of a renewed commitment from me to have my work as easily recognizable as possible while also reinvesting in an image for Fandrix that I've spent years playing with. The old TV is back, and the screen shot below shows the simple new design. The video intro has yet to appear on anything new, but the clean look of the brand makes it ideal for a number of applications - a business card, tag, letter head, whatever I might decide is necessary.
NEW 2010 FANDRIX PRODUCTIONS LOGO
Things are continuing to evolve in rather exciting ways, and while 13 doesn't mean much by itself, if this idea I call Fandrix were a child you could bet a lot of growing up would be happening right now - all of which is very true in how I view my identity surrounding this. Who knew I'd still be so invested in this at 25? One point to me for dedication, haha.
Feb 3, 2010
With the 2010 Academy Award nominations being announced yesterday, my ambitious movie watching schedule is kicking off as I try to catch as many flicks as possible before the March 7 telecast. It's always fun seeing what big titles get the nod (like Avatar), but even more so, hearing about the pictures that flew under the radar and still got recognized (like A Single Man). And despite my love of movies, independent cinema, and the 'industry', there are actually several things that bother me about the spectacle that is the Oscars.
1) The Red Carpet
From who's wearing who to the redundant questioning and forced banter, I find the red carpet to be a drawn out and cringe-worthy experience to watch. Some people love this part the most - the celebrity of it all, etc. - but to me the show itself has enough of this already. It's mainly a pointless fashion parade with unintelligible commentary throughout. I can almost handle it until you witness a host giving a brush off or not realizing who the person is they're talking to - *cringe* no thanks (it's awkward television without the punchline).
2) Reaction Shots
The need to cut to actors and celebs for reactions to jokes or any mention of a related project is often painful to witness. It's inevitable to happen - someone isn't paying attention, is obviously disappointed after a loss, or is forcing their 'I'm cool with this joke' smile - it can immediately take you out of the moment (or ruin the illusion of the Oscars) when the cutaways seem so uncoordinated.
3) Overly Ambitious Speeches
You know the ones - celebs trying to thank everybody they ever worked with and their dogs. This becomes especially tiresome when the music starts up and they rattle through 50 more names. Timing is everything, and a great speech is in the moment, concise, and with only a very select mention of those either directly involved or otherwise overlooked.
4) The Run-Time
Everyone knows the Oscars are long and it's one of the telecasts greatest weaknesses. I sit through it because I actually care who wins, but I completely understand people getting bored. Trying to group more of the technical awards together or finding more creative ways to give them out (the multiple Oscar winner presenters was a nice touch last year) is becoming more essential as the Awards dip in the ratings. It's tough to sit through when the ultimate celebration in movies becomes the ultimate lecture.
Regardless of all these things (which I understand are inherently part of the Oscar experience to begin with) I'll be tuned in to see who wins. Watching the nominated movies still remains the best part of the Academy Awards in my opinion though, and that's as it should be I think.