Sound bites

I finally felt confident that I had researched enough about sound mixing in Final Cut to start manually chopping away at the sound in the rough cut. Now, I’ve got the pilot episode polished and edited in time for Friday’s premiere. I’m really proud of it and ridiculously excited to share it. I’m a little bummed that our fake campaign ads didn’t generate the excitement or build the fan base we’d hoped, but whatever, they were fun. Soon the show can speak for itself and hopefully its popularity will grow from there.

I need to have all the episodes completed before next week because I just won’t have time to do it after that point. It’s getting down to crunch time with the moving process. Not to mention this Mac Book Pro ain’t mine anymore after Oct. 15. I am going to miss it so much. I bought an external hard drive to house all my video files until I can get my own Mac (someday, provided I find employment). I like being able to carry my editing suite with me wherever I go, but I hope to eventually have a pretty powerful desktop Apple to edit my projects on in the future. But first things first! Let’s focus on fun recipes you can make with ramen noodles, rice and beans. Because that’s all I’ll be eating for the foreseeable future.

On that note, if anyone has a used laptop they’re wishing to sell, hit me up. Or if you see a sweet deal on a net book for less than $300, please send it my way. Otherwise I’ll be blogging via iPhone and public library computer in Chicago.

I’m leaving my job in less than three weeks. I can’t even wrap my brain around that.

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Becoming a Final Cut Express Pro

Isn't it pretty?

I love, love, love Final Cut. Tonight I’ll finish editing the final scene of “The Candidate” and then visually, it will be complete. But then I’ll have to delve into the audio and edit it too, because unfortunately the sound is all over the place. Fortunately there’s a tool in Final Cut that allows you to even out the overall sound of a project, and then you can go into it and mess with the levels after that. For example, one of the characters is a little softer spoken than we realized while filming, so I’m going to go in and raise the volume on that person’s lines.

All weekend I sat in front of my laptop, intermittently watching “Gilmore Girls” and editing. As a result, I’ll have edited pretty much the whole show in four days after tonight. It was a good weekend for someone who more often than not runs around like a crazy person for days on end without getting enough sleep.

I’m really excited for the wrap party this Saturday, when I’ll get to show off the finished product, or at least a rough cut. My college friend Jessi and her roommate (who also went to college with us but whom I didn’t meet until after we graduated) will be coming to visit this weekend too, so it’s basically going to be the best weekend ever. There may also be red velvet cake balls involved and I know I better save some for my aunt. Especially since I’ll be making them at her own house while she’s not there. I’m house sitting/cousin watching while she and my uncle go on a weekend getaway.

I can’t wait to show off our first episode Oct. 1.

The campaign season is just getting started

Yesterday Aryeh, Stacey and Stacey’s boyfriend Shane shot Aryeh’s two campaign ads back to back. We aired the first one this morning:

Chalk me and Stacey’s cameo appearances to two each. That’s right. My second one comes this Friday, in John Cunningham’s ad, a response to the above one of Mowry’s. We have almost 50 fans of “The Candidate” on Facebook and Stacey made us this helpful short url for the page, facebook.com/CandidateSeries. Owen made a sweet Flash intro for the show and once Final Cut comes in (hopefully tomorrow) I will see how it looks with the show’s footage. It’s hilarious, I love it. I can’t wait to learn my way around Final Cut Express and I wish it was here already, grrr. My dad encouraged me to enter a film festival in Marietta, near my hometown. Since “The Candidate” wasn’t done I submitted a DVD of “Paper Cuts”. The festival had two categories: under 50 minutes, and over 50 minutes. It said nothing about entering a web series, but I decided to enter it in the former category. We’ll see what happens.

John Cunningham for mayor

Paid for by John Cunningham

Tonight we went to Weinland Park in Italian Village to shoot John Cunningham’s response ad, which we will air a week from tomorrow on our Facebook page and YouTube channel. It was a lot of fun and Bill did great as usual. He’s so funny and he really gets the character, even though John Cunningham is nothing like Bill. He ad-libbed a really funny bit at the end that I left in, with some text running over top of it advertising the show’s website. It’s done and edited but we aren’t airing it until Friday, after Aryeh’s first one hits Monday morning.

Aryeh purchased http://www.CandidateSeries.com just now, and Stacey’s been hard at work designing the site. I wrote some content last night and we should be pretty well on track with that before Oct. 1, our series premiere.

On Sunday, we’re filming Aryeh’s two campaign ads back to back at Owen and Jamie’s house, on their porch. I wrote the scripts last night and Aryeh made some small changes to them today. He seemed pretty happy with them. If his turn out like Bill’s did, we’ll have some pretty amazing promotional material to run before the show starts up.

Meanwhile, I’m taking the plunge and purchasing Final Cut Express tomorrow. As soon as that sucker comes in I’ll be shut up in my room editing on no sleep for days. I can’t wait!

Become a fan of “The Candidate”

We’re beginning to roll out our social media strategy for the web series! Click here to become a fan of the Facebook page for The Candidate. Personal pages for Mike Mowry and John Cunningham to come soon. This week we’re filming our campaign ads for John Cunningham and Mike Mowry, aka, John and Aryeh, respectively. Aryeh’s going first tomorrow night, which will be fun because I have yet to write a word of any of these ads and I have no idea where we’re filming. It was kind of a crazy weekend and I didn’t get as much done as I had planned. I did, however, edit three more minutes of the show, chalking up our total to twelve, that’s right, twelve minutes of content edited. Too bad I have to start over. But it’s of my own volition! I’ve decided to invest in Final Cut Express, a better editing software and something like a step down from what the industry standard is. We have some lower dialogue audio that I want to be able to edit more extensively than I can in iMovie and Owen agrees I can probably make the most of the investment. I’m going to make a Quicktime file of what I’ve edited already for a visual reference and move all my video files over to Express. I just have to buy it first. That’s the hard part, since it’s $200. I can’t exactly ask Aryeh to get it because his investment would be moving to Chicago right along with me in six weeks, so this one’s on me. But it’s not like I’ll never use it again after this project and I am really excited to learn how to use it. I also think now’s the time to get a cheap mouse for my laptop because editing using a touch pad thinger is rough. Did I mention I love editing video?

Day 3 of filming for “The Candidate”

This means WAR

We filmed a guy willingly getting hit with a water balloon Thursday night. Steve, who is playing Matthew, was braced for it and took it like a champ. My brother got caught in the crossfire/aftermath but being the pro he is, he didn’t stop rolling despite the shock (or the droplets of water on the lens).

We had 11 people on set last night, and it was kind of crazy, including two extras, the talented Sean Eaton on Camera 2, our producer, assistant director, crew and actors. It started off on a frightening note when I realized I’d told Becca to be there at 7:45 instead of 7. Fortunately, we had a scene we could shoot while we waited for her and she got there as soon as she could. She was really nice about my mistake, too. We shot one interview scene in my office, a scene with Becca and Matt in Stacey’s office and the rest over on the other side of our building. The later scenes were the first ones actually in the campaign office. While Owen, Sean and Steve shot a quick scene outside before it got dark, everyone else teamed up and set up the office set in less than ten minutes. It was pretty impressive. The IKEA panel curtains we purchased last week seemed to suffice as a way to block off the long hallway we wanted to hide and Aryeh pointed out they could pass as window shades, merely covering a giant window in the office.

What the....?

The water balloon scene was tricky; we only had one chance to hit Steve with the balloon so it had to be good. To make things more complicated, it was dark by the time we got to that scene so we couldn’t show Steve entering the door as we’d planned. We worked around this by instead showing the office employees (Becca, Matt, extras Christine and Samantha) going nuts in all-out Nerf gun warfare before showing Steve step into the frame. So instead of him getting hit with the balloon the second he entered, he stood shocked for a few seconds watching the chaos and THEN getting pelted. I think the end result ended up being funnier than originally planned so it all worked out. Also we ended up having three cameras on Steve when the balloon hit. Action shot to the max.

I heart my actors

I love all the actors because they totally get their characters. I feel like the ones I wrote for this are more developed than ones I’ve written in the past and they seem more real. I am really happy with our casting and how everyone seems to be getting along.

Tomorrow the scariest scene of my life takes place, with every cast member on set and lots of craziness going on. It’s a good thing we now have three cameras, but we’re kind of going to need people behind them. Also, my dad will be there, yay! Hooray for the most supportive dad on the planet who randomly agreed to come to Columbus on a Monday night to be in a very silly production with me, my brother and our friends. It’s just like when we were kids, right?

Building buzz for a web series

The other night before the photo shoot with Bill, Aryeh made the interesting suggestion that we do some fake campaign commercials. I’m pretty sure it was just because he wants more screen time beyond his face appearing on a giant sign in one scene, but it turned out to be a pretty good idea once we got rolling. As a result, we brainstormed most of our marketing strategy for the web series.

When Bill got to the shoot, we ran the idea of a campaign ad by him and he was down with it. We’ll do a positive one surrounding Aryeh’s character, Mike Mowry, and another one of Mowry in an attack ad against Cunningham. We’re not sure yet which Cunningham’s will be a response to but I’m going to do some writing soon. My friend Andrew has agreed to donate his son’s time so we have a baby for either Aryeh or Bill to kiss. So ridiculous. Have you seen any crazy ads for or against candidates? Do share. We’re shooting the ads the Wednesday and Thursday after Labor Day and we’re also looking for a guy to do a really dramatic voiceover or two.

We plan to air one of Mowry’s ads first, then Cunningham’s a couple days after, followed by Mowry’s second one. This will be followed by a two-minute trailer of the show itself. Hopefully by this point our friends, family and acquaintances will be more intrigued than annoyed by all this buzz.

On top of these fake ads and trailer giving the name of the series at the end (and hopefully a website/YouTube channel), we’re going to embellish the hideous site Stacey made for Cunningham. We’ll also create Facebook fan pages for each candidate and try to get our friends to join them. We can post funny status updates in character and stuff, that could be cool.

I started a gmail account under the name CandidateSeries (TheCandidate and TheCandidate2010 were taken, boooo). Stacey has agreed to create a site as part of her personal one to host the series, and she does spectacular work. I would have loved to have had a site just for “Paper Cuts” but I had no way of getting one at the time.

Anyway, so that’s the plan. I hope it works and doesn’t backfire. We’ll have to be careful not to overexpose the thing next month. After all the build up we’ll air episodes on Mondays and Fridays in October. If we have more than 8 episodes, we might air them Monday, Wednesday and Friday until they’re done. We’ll see.