First, lets start off with episode 1. Why, you ask don't we start off with episode 0 and why is episode 0 sandwiched between episodes 4 and 5? All will be explained later young ones...
Episode 1: "Homage" -------------------------------------------------
- Opening Segment: Audience arrives at Nathan's house to see the show take shape.
- Opening Montage/Credits
- Sketch 1: Nathan and Chris discuss their new show and brainstorm for sketch ideas.
- Sketch 2: "Worker 625" Worker at a run-of-the-mill office job is tormented by management.
- Sketch 1 (continued)
- Sketch 3: "Worker 665" Anther worker at a run-of-the-mill office job is tormented by management.
- Sketch 1 (continued)
- Sketch 4: "Hello, My Name Is ID" Nathan deals with his creative side in this split screen sketch.
- Sketch 1 (continued)
- Sketch 6: "Hair Bitch" Chris and Nathan shoot a documentary about a witch who cuts hair in the backwoods of Texas.
- Sketch 7: "Not Enough Postage"
- Sketch 8: "Airlock" Chris unwittingly blows himself out of an airlock.
- End Credits
We found Episode 1 very easy to make. It took no time at all to shoot and compile the thirty minutes needed for TV broadcast. At the time I was working for a security company and had lots of time on my hands to think of ideas and write scripts. But I digress, let's start our tale a few years previous... Back in 1999 and 2000 I was helping Miguel with his public access show Sniffles during it's "dying" days. I had always wanted to do a show of my own. I had even done a minor test complete with credits a few years before that when my friend Wade and I went out to a field in Fort Worth to shoot off a model rocket. I shot the footage and edited it together in Adobe Premier. It gave me a good idea of how to go about my own show and gave my that itch to get it done. After appearing in a couple of Miguel's sketched for his final episode of Sniffles (and over the next 4 years) I discussed and discussed with Chris and Miguel (mainly Chris) about doing a show. We finally got motivated enough in January 2004 to get it into gear. Within a month we had a show under our belts.
The opening sketch in which the audience shows up to my house (via camera work by my friend James) then Chris and I begin talking about doing a show of our own actually took up most of the 30 minute show. We actually cut out quite a bit (I say quite a bit but it was like maybe 5 minutes) to ensure we had some actual comedy in the show (oops, I know I didn't just say that!).
The comics you see at the beginning of the first 6 episodes was an idea I had since day one. I like to draw and I knew it would help fill up some of the 30 minutes we needed. I actually took that first comic from one of the comics I drew a few years back and posted on my comic website. You can see it here.
After the comic strip the show continues with Chris and I talking about sketch ideas we have had. The running joke is that for every idea I had about a sketch Chris had the exact same idea years ago.
The "Worker 625" and "Worker 665" sketches were shot in one night (probably in no more than 1 hour's time). It was shot at an abandoned music instrument company. I won't mention names or how we gained access to it but never the less we got in there, made one of the cubicles look less 'abandoned' and shot the stuff. We also shot more of that in an office with a table, a room with an old copy and postage machine, and in the warehouse. We also shot a couple more things there which you will find out about later. I enjoyed shooting at this location but at the time I was a bit anxious about the amount of time we were spending in there (once again I will not go into details but I can say that it wasn't breaking and entering). In these 2 sketches we used dubbed-over audio for the shouting and commanding 'management' voice. You will notice that Chris' voice is reprimanding Chris for taking a drink, or going to the bathroom way too much, etc...
"Hello, my name is ID" was done in the course of about 30 minutes. I was somewhere filming this (again, no can tell) and I quickly shot myself in each seat in this truck from 3 angles (each) and spliced them into a conversation with myself. I was new to this 'split-screen' technique so the actual shot with me duplicated on the screen is VERY short. As a fun side note; at the beginning of the sketch you see me getting into a truck. If you look closely you will notice I get into a pickup and on the close ups I am in a full-size truck.
Afterwards we are back at the brainstorming session. Chris tells Nathan he had that sketch idea already and Nathan (in his frustration) leaves then we cut to an intermission. The intermissions were designed to take up more time (like the opening comics) but they also allowed us to advertise our website. I rented a PO box at the time and put the address there. A few years later I re-edited the intermissions and removed the PO Box info and just kept the website name since we never got any mail.
After the intermission we are back at the brainstorming session. This part of the brainstorming sketch of the show features my then-roommate Tuyen. Let me say one thing about Tuyen, he is not the actor's actor, in fact he's not an actor at all. He could not remember a line to save his life. Buy hey, this is public access and that's cool here. Eventually he just had to read his lines 'on camera'... literally. Just to let all those of you who want to know that the hell is up with the name: 'Common Name Ricer'. It's Chris' joke about his own 'common' name and 'Ricer' is simply the twist on one of Miguel's friends. So all that crap is simply Chris' way to make fun of one of Miguel's friends that none of us get along with. What...? Oh you meant; would I explain the name Tuyen? Well, no. That just his name.
"The Hair Bitch" was one of (if not the) first sketches we actually shot. I will have to check with Chris to see if we did this or the opening stuff first. I can't remember. Anyway, this is of course another Blair Witch parody. The theme for this was made by Chris on my mom's piano. We shot this in my backyard in Joshua. Although we are supposed to be lost in the 'Deep Woods of Texas' you will see my house and other houses in the background on several occasions as well as the exact same 'forest walking' footage in a couple of places too. The funny thing is is that we forgot to shoot the pivitol scene where we actually see (or hear) the Hair Bitch for the first time and as a result we start running. So later when we are editing this we decide to use one of the distance walking shots to set up what amounts to an audio event. We went outside at night (around 1am actually) and said some stuff like... "Oh my god, what's that?!" and "Run!" then we edited it into this footage of us walking (shot at a far distance so you could not see our mouths moving) and there you go. The very next scene is us running for dear life. The other interesting thing is that we only had one camera and for these 'distance shots' which you see me walking, holding the video camera, I am in fact holding a largish TV remote control that is silver and roughly the shape of a video camera. After this sketch was over we did this sort of cheesy 'lets talk to the actors' bits where we simply adlibbed. Chris said something like... "Yeah, they made me drink all the Dr. Pepper's I opened on screen. I've never felt so bloated in all my life." I could no stop laughing at that. We also shot Chris jumping off a tree stump that appears in the title credits of this episode. One funny note; we had to go back and change the opening of this sketch because the line "... in the deep backwoods of Texas" came out reading "... in the deep backwads of Texas". I decided to leave the error in on the YouTube video.
This was basically the end of the planned episode. All the brainstorming stuff wasn't all that funny and I felt I needed to add some more laughs so I put in a couple of short sketches we shot at other times. After The Hair Bitch there are two more random sketches that don't fit in with the storyline of the episode. Oh wel...
One of the 2 random sketches is 'Not Enough Postage'. At my workplace there is a mail slot and I simply went into the little closet behind it and stuck my arm through the slot to give Chris is mail back. For some reason Chris doesn't like this sort of sketch. He thinks it's too cheesy. I like this sort of thing. I think it fits society's short attention span.
The final sketch: "Airlock" was shot in a parking garage somewhere in North Fort Worth (once again, I cannot say where) but it was a nice quick thing to do and for some strange reason this 30 second sketch seems to be the most popular of the first 3 episodes. I can't really remember who came up with the idea (it must have been me since there was no lengthy dialogue) but it was simple and effective. All the sounds and voices in this bit were done by me with the exception of the alarm siren (which I lifted from the movie Sphere). I did the noise of the announcer, the hissing of the air and the blowing noise of the escaping air into a PC microphone.
I thought I would say a little something about the credits too. The credits are roughly the same for all the episodes. I simply change a few things around and add some names here and there. I liked the idea of having some audio bite at the very end so in each episode there is something silly said. I also wanted to have a title screen with the phrase "and thanks to our arch rival Miguel Cruz" to make everything complete. He isn't our Arch rival but his lack of interest and refusal to help us prompted me to make it. I used Adobe Photoshop for all these title screens.
Episode 2: Indenture -------------------------------------------------
- Opening Segment
- Opening Montage/Credits
- Sketch 1: "Comedy-Tron 2000".
- Sketch 2: Wagons Ho! Nathan sits atop heavy equipment reenacting old western movies.
- Sketch 3: "Channel 46 Mayoral Race 1". The start of the Fort Worth race for Mayor.
- Sketch 4: "If You Listen To NPR You Know There's Truth Here" An NPR sketch.
- Sketch 5: "Channel 46 Mayoral Race 2" Lewis Cannon's first ad.
- Sketch 6: "Weekly 'Poor' Report" A Channel 46 News report.
- Sketch 7: "Channel 46 Mayoral Race 3" Greenly Meadows' first ad.
- Sketch 8: "Temp Worker" Nathan, a hard working lad meets Mr. ass-head.
- Sketch 9: "Channel 46 Mayoral Race 4" Lewis Cannon ad.
- Sketch 10: "Chris' 5 Minute In-Camera Edited Sketch" The name says it all.
- Sketch 11: "Channel 46 Mayoral Race 5" Greenly Meadows ad.
- Sketch 12: "Did You Wash Your Hands?" Nathan catches Chris outside the restroom.
- Sketch 13: "Channel 46 Mayoral Race 6" Lewis Cannon ad.
- Sketch 14: "Channel 46 Mayoral Race 7" Greenly Meadows ad.
- Sketch 15: "Every Customer We Have Ever Experienced" Again, self explanatory .
- Sketch 16: "Channel 46 Mayoral Race 8" Lewis Cannon ad.
- Sketch 17: "Channel 46 Mayoral Race 9" Greenly Meadows ad.
- Sketch 18: "Hello, My Name Is ID 2" Chris' turn to meet his creative side.
- Sketch 19: "Mayors Race Results" Greenly Meadows has to read this bit of depressing news.
- End Credits
The majority of this episode was easy to finish, but it was just a few little things that kept this episode from being finished as quickly as the first. In this episode I kinda got what I envisioned for the show; a series of quick sketches, not as many long drawn out sketches (like the ones Chris likes). His balance of longer, more dialogue oriented sketches is balanced by my sillier, shorter stuff. Episode 2 is more of my kind of stuff.
The opening of this sketch is a mixture of very short stuff culled over a few months time. First off you see the Comedy-Tron 2000. This is a series of bitmaps I made in Windows Paint then added sound effects. The sounds you hear are all me. I distorted my voice with GoldWave to achieve the humming, buzzing, and computer sounding voice.
In "Wagons Ho!" I am sitting on a series of tractors located in a huge area in North Fort Worth. There were so many that I decided to shoot myself sitting on each one and uttering that line. The final it is Chris sitting in my mom's car (on our trip to my families lake place in Mexia) and filming a can of Diet 7up and a can of Dr. Pepper. Chris then remarks that "one of us is having fun" then next is a shot of a car passing us while Chris is zooming in on it.
The opening credits feature a hand (mine) drawing the credits in super fast motion. I did this by setting the camera tripod on the desk and pointing it down and drawing normally. Then I sped the footage up in Adobe and also placed some title screens on top of the footage that had funny sayings at the bottom like: "No batteries required", "Made with 100% more cats" etc...
The 2004 Mayoral Race sketches)) came naturally as we brainstormed for ideas for sketches to do while sitting at a desk. It had been my idea (or want) to do news sketches and somewhere along the lines we decided to do a race for mayor using the newscasters. Chris (created the name and) became Lewis Cannon (say the name 3 times fast and you will get the joke) and I became Greenly Meadows. O.K. Greenly Meadows isn't as funny a name as Lewis Cannon, but I got the idea from a screenplay Miguel wrote where the name of the main character was Nick Meadows. I just thought adding a 'greenly' infront of Meadows would make it a bit funnier. This intro sketch is perhaps the most important to pay attention to in all the Mayoral Race sketches since it sets up the big joke for the end. Also you will notice the name Collin Allcars as the campaign manager. Collin Allcars, get it?
I am not really proud of this next sketch (in my acting that is). The joke of the sketch is great. NPR annoys me. It annoys me alot. don't get me wrong I like NPR a good part of the time. I just hate the way those guys are just so great. What false humility! Anyway it seems if you work on NPR you either have a strange name or speech problem. This was the basis if this sketch. I did this adlib and you can tell! I was reading this 'abandoned' letter (see the info for episode one where I talk about the 'abandoned music company') and all the while I am trying to make up the dialogue. Oh well. Anyway you might notice that although NPR turns me down and suggests I get a speech impediment I do infact have a speech impediment. Oh well, you can't write Shakespeare all the time. Anyway we shot this in like 4 minutes in that 'abandoned' place I spoke of earlier. It was right there at the mailbox wall, right next to the room Chris shot his copier and postage machine sketches in (from episode 1).
The first mayoral ad is Lewis Cannon's civil introduction. He played it fairly straight and soon you see the real Lewis Cannon (jerky head movements and all) appear in the next few sketches. The real problem we had shooting these and the regular news segments (we shot them all in the same night) were twofold; my dog Auggie (RIP) was barking all night and you can often hear him in the backyard yapping away and we were going to try blue screen so we had to do a lot of overlighting (and it still didn't work) and the picture looked crappy.
The Weekly 'Poor' Report was intended to be in each episode. This seemed like a great way to take up some time with no actual footage being shot. I simply took pictures with the video camera and edited them in Photoshop. I removed and added windows, duplicated walls and signs, and changed features so no one could 100% for sure name the buildings. (if you are curious you can find these buildings off I-35 in North Fort Worth). I then did a voice over and couldn't think of a good line and stole some of a line from the Truman Show; "Good evening, and good night."
Greenly Meadows makes his bid for Mayor of Fort Worth in a very civil tone. My glasses had no lenses and there is a earbud in ear for that 'official' newscaster look. I am also wearing a white shirt and a tie (with shorts underneath). Let me say now that I am NO actor. I don't pretend to be. These lines (that Chris wrote) were very hard for me to remember. Many times I simply had to looks down at the lines infront of me. It was very bad. But hey, this is public access!
"Temp Worker" was Chris brain child (as you can tell from the reams of dialogue). Chris and I went to Mexia one day in 2004 (I can't remember when) and we decided to shoot some stuff down there. We got a goodly amount of stuff done that day and this was the big one. I was in the middle of working on this run down mobile home so Chris came up with the idea of a real punk who has come to work for a temp service even though it is way beneath him.
O.K. Things get just slightly less than civil in this Lewis Cannon ad. For Chris' costume we used my stepdad's old suit Chris; hair pulled back and the Greenly Meadows glasses. Lewis is also brandishing a hypodermic needle to show the tools of Greenly's trade. This is one I think I got from my vet for the dogs.
One of the more creative, less technology reliant ideas for the show was the edited-in-camera sketch. This is Chris' and we assumed I was going to do one myself but for some reason I never did. We see Chris come up with some stuff totally on his own here.
In the next installment of Greenly's political ad has a bit of an interesting blooper to go with it that you might never see. You see, Chris and myself are writing these sketches pretty much as we are doing them. I would be infront of the camera and Chris would be in the bedroom on the computer writing more to bring out to me. Well this one bit of dialogue was written by me but I had kinda forgot about it. All that night I was having a hard time keeping a straight face and remembering my lines so I was pretty much looking down at the paper then reading my lines right off of it in a news anchor type fashion. The bit started out very serious then right in the middle of it I say something like: "Lewis Cannon eats babies for breakfast..." Well, I forgot I wrote that bit and I was all serious and such then I started to read that bit and exploded in laughter right in the middle of this serious stuff. I couldn't stop laughing. I lifted the line wholesale from Balckadder 2.
"Did you wash your hands" came out of a true story that Miguel told us once. Apparently Miguel does not wash his hands after he goes to the restroom and once he got called out for it by some stranger. The exact wording was different I believe, but the short sketch was pretty much as it happed. The room Chris walks out of is actually an empty office (in that abandoned place) and I simply added a toilet flush in post.
Now the ads are starting to get nasty. The gloves are really coming off and this sketch provided another blooper bit. Chris found that Lewis Cannon does a lot of jerky sort of movements. It's rather funny (not in a turretts way sort of funny) and gets laughs. Well Chris decides to break up one of his lines with one of these exaggerated movement and I wasn't expecting it. I of course blew the scene with my laughing and we reshot.
Not much new here in the arena of mud slinging. Greenly is really getting fumed though.
"Every customer we ever experienced" was our attempt to immortalize our dying shop. Chris and Myself owned and operated a small (very small) comic/collectible shop in West Fort Worth. We wanted to shoot something there before we ditched the business. The idea for this sketch formed itself from years of retail experience. We wanted to capture that and the customers we have had in the shop as well. I played the customer and Chris the shopkeeper. Everything that happens in that sketch had happened in that shop (well, except the hat flying off the guy's head). At the beginning of the sketch there is something on the computer screen that can been seen for only a second as I walk in the shop. Chris can go into more detail about it. For one scene where time is passing slowly I used 3 (or 4) layers of footage and laid them ontop of each other in Premier and had them run to the tick tocking of a clock to denote the passage of time. The effect was a little on the dark side but it worked fairly well. For some odd reason before we were done with this sketch we got the urge to do something wacky. So we reshot the scene where the customer asks what the price of a high-dollar item is. When he is told his hat shoots off and he exclaims; WHAT!? This was greatness. We simply stapled a string to my hat and Chris got on the counter top and yanked it at the right time. To make the illusion better I used a crude split screen to obscure the string tight before the pull to. I was so great that we used it in the intro to the show for episodes 0 and 6.
Lewis Cannon shoots the first nuke in the all out final segment of his mayoral run. Chris wanted us to act like wrestlers in these final bits.
Next Greenly Meadows gets nasty. I remember Chris making me redo this bit and had me act more mean. I also remember I had to redo this bit over and over again because I could not get the line right; "Who's calling who second best man?!"
"Hello, my name is ID 2" was a bit more accomplished than the first attempt. This time Chris spoke with his creative side. In several shots you can clearly see me reflected in the window behind Chris. Oops. I also had to slow down several of Chris' reaction shots to match his other self's dialogue. You can notice this by the flickering effect you can see in the miniblinds behind the original Chris. The part of the sketch where one of the Chris sets down the Dr. Pepper and the other one picks it up, all in one shot, is fantastic. I honestly don't know who I did it. I mean, I could if I really thought out how the effect was accomplished, but I just can easily figure it out. I must have been some of that split screen trickery I was becoming so good at.
The final sketch in the mayoral race is the punch line to the joke in the first mayoral sketch. After all this junk both candidates loose and their campaign manager wins. Ho ho ho. The voice at the beginning of the sketch is mine but slowed down a little bit.
Episode 3: Curmudgeon -------------------------------------------------
- Opening Segment
- Opening Montage
- Sketch 1: "Begin Again" The audience arrives at Nathan's again.
- Sketch 2: "In Search For Food" Nathan deals with his bad roommate in a creative way.
- Sketch 3: "Graveyard" Nathan prepares for work.
- Sketch 4: "Viacox Call For Help" Chris' dream.
- Sketch 5: "Worry" Chris frets over Nathan's lateness.
- Sketch 6: "A Dream Within A Dream" Chris can't seem to wake up, or is it Nathan?
- Sketch 7: "Submitting The Show" Nathan visits the public access office.
- Sketch 8: "Mailbox Walk" Chris checks the mail for the public access paperwork.
- Sketch 9: "Worry More" Nathan realizes he has made a big mistake.
- End Credits
The opening sketch was shot to look like the opening sketch of episode 1. This time Chris' hand was the hand that knock this time instead of James'. It was kind of awkward what with me doing all the talking because I have never been comfortable in front of a camera, or camera-friendly feature wise. We wanted to use the blue screen poster board to bring the comics up but the effect wasn't all that great. This episode took the longest to actually produce. The problem wasn't one of logistics, but of story. What Chris and myself planned to do (I think it was my idea at the time) was to have an episode that was actually one complete story line. That quickly morphed into an episode where each of the sketches were linked somehow, like HBO's Mr. Show. After many ideas on linked sketches and almost a year we finished.
"In Search For Food" was created to a:) make a sketch that showed how a roommate never bought groceries and b:) deal with Chris' inner demons given to him as a child by his mother. For this sketch we emptied out the cupboard and the fridge (and freezer) then I did a sort of Steve Irwin sort of nature host and we went a lookin' for food. The hominy and wine cooler labels were just pieces of paper and a marker. The wine cooler was one of those souvenir bottles you get on vacation that my real roommate, Tuyen loaned me. I totally forgot to check in the freezer in this sketch and after we cleaned it out and everything too. Also as far as I know the bowl of moldy food is till in that fridge. I left it when I moved out. I wonder if my mom cleaned it out after she moved back in?
This next sketch was something Chris came up with and we shot very quickly. We spoke our lines and added in the ominous bell sound in post. I think at the time we shot this I was still working at my graveyard shift job (but I could have already moved on to working back at EB Games). We had to shoot this sketch to lead in to the "Viacox" dream sketch. The final bit where Chris is show with his shirt off and says goodnight is actually part of the "Worry" sketch that I had to cut down for time. Chris actually spends quite some time showing the audience this long chest hair he has. Never the less I felt this could be trimmed (the sketch, that is) and I cut it for time.
This was one of the first sketches we shot. This location was on the side of a building (I cannot mention which, but it is in North Fort Worth). I simply walk down after Chris in a menacing way. You can clearly see my shadow holding a camera. I added a heartbeat (from the Haunted Mansion ride soundtrack) and me talking as the call for help button. I used GoldWave to remove all bass out of my voice so it sounds like a phone call or something similar.
"Worry" was our actually first big sketch. It might have even been the first sketch we shot for According To Whim. The premise was simple; Chris is worried that I have not come home or called. He frets over this while playing his GayStation 2. Chris thought it would be funny to string along a bunch of game titles and "Gay-ize" them. The Hims (Sims), Men Hunter (Man Hunter), etc... Chris then writes a list of a possible reasons of my lateness in which we did a voice over later. He also makes a call to some Asian dude. Once again, let me state that Tuyen is not an actor. This couple of seconds of dialogue was hard to get. Tuyen is a lens looker. Every time he his done with a line he immediately looks at the camera lens. So this shot cuts out pretty fast since as soon as he was done with his line he looks at the camera lens. Anyway, I show up at the front door but I am apparently dead. This is where the sketch ends. We had to shoot the next sketch months later to get our selves out of this predicament.
Chris wakes up from this horrid dream. The next series of events I lifted and modified from An American Werewolf In London. Chris thinks he is awake but we soon discover he is still asleep. Again and again he is scared out of his wits and woken up. He is having a dream within a dream over and over again. To throw and even further twist to this it appears it's me who is the one dreaming and I finally wake up. I really like this over the top idea and I'd to do it again in the future and spend more time and make it work nicer. Nathan then tells Chris he is headed to the Public Access office to get an application for the show.
If anything is going to get us kicked off of public access its this sketch. I think I offend just about every religious group out there. This sketch features me talking to me. Ah ha, but one of the mes is sporting a false goatee (felt goatee that is) and glasses. I shot this sketch in link 10 minutes at our favorite 'abandoned' music company in the little lobby. You see me sitting behind the desk but there was no chair there. It's me kinda squatting a bit. I say my lines, make minor costume adjustments and get on the other side of the desk and say some lines and wham, I am done. Later in post I added phone noises and (most clever of all) I add these 3 signs you see on the walls. 2 Public Access rules signs and an exit sign on the door. I added them in with Photoshop. With all this in place I make fun of how public access works and what they show. Frankly I'm surprised I haven't be killed yet.
"Mailbox Walk" was shot more than a year later the previous sketch. Ever lived in the country? If so then you know how far it can be to your mailbox. Chris walks to the mailbox to see if the show was accepted for broadcast. Most of this sketch was shot in the same 50 foot area in the back of my house. We just moved back to the beginning of the yard and shot the next walking scene. I intercut some shots of Chris' shoes walking to merge the pieces together. In one scene Chris takes out his phone (I am the one calling in the sketch). I inserted the ring tone in post. I made the tone low until he pulls it out of his pocket. It worked real good. There is another scene where he is mowing but to get the effect to work right I added in the noise so I could fade in on it. When Chris walks up to the mailbox and opens it we simply put the camera into the mailbox. It looks pretty cool.
The last sketch in the episode "Worry More" was my effort to just get the damn episode finished. Chris and myself had talked and talked about how we were going to move the episode along after "Mailbox Walk" (and earlier, "Submitting The Show"). We could never agree and get going on shooting some more 'lead in - lead out' sketches so one day I decided to just DO SOMETHING. I shot this extremely long sketch that wasn't all that funny. Even in it's trimmed down state it still isn't that funny. The premise was that I sent in the show but accidentally sent in "Females Gone Insane: Spring Break Edition" in it's place. I then use a prop to time travel and stop myself from sending it. The parts that are cut out are a waking up scene, a elongated visit to the toilet scene, some lines I say to Chris while I am getting ready to put the tape in the envelope, and some dialogue I have with my self at the end of the sketch. Much to my surprise when I was finished editing this sketch it filled in the rest of the episode and then some.
Episode 4: Vagabond -------------------------------------------------
- Opening Segment
- Opening Montage
- Sketch 1: "Start Spreading The News" The dinosaurs put on a little show.
- Sketch 2: "According To Whim: The Reality Show Commercial"
- Sketch 3: "Fun With Smoke: Diet Sorceress" Nathan takes extreme measures to loose weight.
- Sketch 4: "According To Whim: The Reality Show 1"
- Sketch 5: "Fun With Smoke: No Fireworks In The House" Says it all.
- Sketch 6: "According To Whim: The Reality Show 2"
- Sketch 7: "News 1" Greenly Meadows reads the news of the day.
- Sketch 8: "According To Whim: The Reality Show 3"
- Sketch 9: "The Entertainment Report" Lewis Cannon gives us the news.
- Sketch 10: "According To Whim: The Reality Show 4"
- Sketch 11: "The Entertainment Report" Lewis Cannon gives us more entertainment news.
- Sketch 12: "According To Whim: The Reality Show 5"
- Sketch 13: "Subtle Sketch: Long Table Discussion" Chris and Nathan throws subtle jokes at the audience.
- Sketch 14: "Subtle Sketch: Deliverer" Chris tries to deliver something important but is stopped by a jerk.
- Sketch 15: "Subtle Sketch: T.C.J.C. Pillow Talk" Chris and Nathan figure out why TCJC became TCC.
- Sketch 16: "Subtlety" Chris and Nathan do some audience brain melting.
- Sketch 17: "The Ultra Inflatable Ultra Bed 9000" Nathan buys a wonderful new product.
- End Credits
When Chris and myself had our business we purchased some of these plastic dinosaur grabber things where there is a dino head on a stick and where you pull on this trigger thing and the mouth closes. Well, lacking for material we decide to film them. I set up a bluescreen (the best application to date of it, you really can't tell) and we went about filming ourselves being silly. I sifted through the footage for the least crappiest stuff and here we are with the dino version of that 'Start Spreading The News' song.
"According To Whim: The Reality Show" was a stab at reality TV, something I hope dies a quick and painful death. This first in a series of sketches is a commercial where I had some fun with Photoshop and screen captures of other parts of the series. This is to set up the hype that this show is gonna rock hard!
The "Fun With Smoke: Diet Sorceress" sketch fulfilled my need for a some sketches involving my smoke machine. My Niece was in town for a few weeks so I decided to force here to be on the show. No, not really. She was dying to be a 'star'. She'll regret that when the freaky old-man emails start coming in. Anyway in order to get the smoke to come out of the didgeridoo I had a length of swimming pool vacuum hose and simply held one end of the hose to the fog machine and the other on the end of the didgeridoo. Actually you can plainly see me crouched down holding the end of the tube if you look to the left of Sayra.
I won't say much for the other According To Whim: The Reality Show sketches because they are all like this one (with a minor exception of the last one). All of these sketches has Chris and myself watching TV. the joke being that this is a true reality show and not peppered with contrived tasks or fake stuff.
"Fun With Smoke: No Fire Works In The House" gets the most questions asked because of that damn firecracker. I light this fire cracker in my bedroom and it blows up and there is this cheesy sound effect of a firework rocket and explosion that I overlay for the sound. I recorded them from my Yamaha keyboard. Well the firework gag went like this. I put a bowl of water infont of me, had Sayra hold the camera over my shoulder and I lit the real firework. Did I mention it was a damaged firework? I broke a blackcat in half and pulled out the real fuse and put in a much larger fuse from a smokebomb (it looks better when its lit). So I am actually holding 2 halves of a firecracker when I light it. Just before it burns down and catches what's left of the gunpowder and burns my fingers I dropped it in the bowl. Simple. I then shot smoke under the door of the room and filed the house with smoke.
The "Greenly Meadows Reads The News" was shot with all the mayoral stuff from Episode 2. This was actually the original intent of the Greenly/Lewis sketches. I read off these cheesy news stories that Chris wrote. We discovered that this new anchor stuff is an easy way to fill in time. It's easy to shoot and write.
In the sketches were Lewis Cannon read the entertainment report we simply swapped jobs. I (tried) to write and Chris did the acting. His jerky movements are a riot.
"The Subtle Sketches" was an idea I came up with after a few of the sketches we came up with had jokes too obscure to be really funny. So, if it ain't that funny, it's here. The first of these is the "Long table Discussion." This bit was shot in the 'abandoned' location in this boardroom. We wrote the lines out on paper and pretty much read straight from them. You can kinda see the writing on my papers since I wrote them with a big marker. Chris does do some fairly funny improv.
The next subtle sketch is "Deliverer". This is a weird sketch that is really subtle in humor... I mean REALLY subtle. This was a silent sketch so I needed some music to fill in the sketch so I went to some red book audio from a Japanese game I had several years back. What you hear (in music and Japanese dialogue) is the soundtrack to cut scenes from Dragon Ball Z: Legends. O.K. here is the joke for all of you who can't figure this out: Our delivery boy comes into this building and is heading to the executive suite with important papers. When he gets to the top he is stopped by a security guard. He points tot he sign "Mini Executive Suite" and then pointes to the stairs. The stair are smaller than the rest of the stairs in the stairwell. You see, "mini" executive suite and "small" stairs? Oh geez.
"T.C.J.C. Pillow Talk" is a pillow fight between Chris and myself while we discuss why they changed the name of TCJC to TCC. If you listen to what is said you will notice that most of the stuff we say starts with T C C. It's actually a pretty nice sketch idea. I suppose if we ever get 'big time' this concept should be re-envisioned. As the sketch ends we start getting muted by the F.C.C. and result to using cards with dialogue on them. Yes we do infact say all those nasty thing but you just can't hear us.
"Subtlety" has this disclaimer at the beginning whereas we (the producers of According To Whim) take no responsibility for brain aneurisms as a result of watching this sketch. You can figure out right away (from the lack of fart jokes or other visual tripserkery that this is a Chris sketch. There is dialogue... and more dialogue... and more dialogue. This has to be the biggest 'talkie' sketch we have done to date. All in all, after it is said is done the joke is so obscure that no one except about 4 people will get the closing joke. That's it... 4 people. It is a reference to a sketch that Chris did in Sniffles(Sniff!). You may notice that the background (while we are in the truck) changes a little too drastically from shot to shot. We weren't really looking for continuity... oh well. We shot part of this at a local Jack in the Box in Cleburne. If you watch the guy in the background as I come and sit down, in the next shot he is gone. I think he figured out what was going on and hot footed it out.
"The Ultra Inflatable Ultra Bed 9000" has been called my definitive sketch triumph. It is one of those sketches that turns out to be like 3 times longer than you intend. This sketch is about crappy products and irritating customer help lines. My mom owned one of these inflatable beds and it had a hole in it. We had to shoot kinda fast or the bed would actually start deflating on screen. For the scene where Chris pops the bed by accident I added all the sound effects from the pop to the raspberry sound of escaping air. We simply pulled the plug and I rolled around on it while it deflated. The scene where we shot up at Chris and his hair is flying back with the force of the escaping air is actually me using a lawn leaf blower on Chris. For the next bit of the sketch I pre record some Indian sounding dialogue and then shoot myself reacting to it. Through the use of nonsensical footage of fish swimming and cats kicking themselves I get the point across that I have been on hold FOR EVER. The final shot of the sketch is Chris jumping on my new replacement and the audience see the footage slow down and fade out then you hear the pop.
Episode 0: The Intro Show -------------------------------------------------
- Opening Montage
- Sketch 1: "Viacox Call For Help" Chris' dream.
- Sketch 2: "Worker 625" Worker at a run-of-the-mill office job is tormented by management.
- Sketch 3: "Worker 665" Anther worker at a run-of-the-mill office job is tormented by management.
- Sketch 4: "Fun With Smoke: No Fireworks In The House" Says it all.
- Sketch 5: "Subtle Sketch: Long Table Discussion" Chris and Nathan throws subtle jokes at the audience.
- Sketch 6: "The Munchie Shak" Commercial for a business of questionable intent.
- Sketch 7: "Blooper Reel"
- Sketch 8: "Speedy Drive" Nathan drives around town.
- Sketch 9: "10 Sketches In One Minute" Like it says...
- Sketch 10: "Dylan And Cody Try To Get On The Show"
- Sketch 11: "Castle Silliness" A short sketch shot with 'army men' like knights.
- Sketch 12: "I Wasn't Expecting That: Cat Burglar" Nathan is forced to take money.
- Sketch 13: "I Wasn't Expecting That: Can Of Nuts" Chris gets a surprise with a can of 'nuts'.
- Sketch 14: "Did We Forget To Turn Off The Iron?"
- Sketch 15: "Manopns" The tampon that's 'cool' for guys to buy.
- Sketch 16: "Airlock" Chris unwittingly blows himself out of an airlock.
- End Credits
I am not going to go over these sketches since they are sketches already covered on this page.
Episode 5: Litigateable -------------------------------------------------
- Opening Segment: The dino-grabbers are back again with a bit to say from the Dino Fact Finder book.
- Sketch 1: "Paid Advertisement 1" Nathan and Chris try to generate revenue for the show.
- Opening Montage
- Sketch 2: "I Wasn't Expecting That: Cat Burglar" Nathan is forced to take money.
- Sketch 3: "I Wasn't Expecting That: Miguel's Gift" Chris gets a gift from Miguel.
- Sketch 4: "I Wasn't Expecting That: Can Of Nuts" Chris gets a surprise with a can of 'nuts'.
- Sketch 5: "I Wasn't Expecting That: Creditor" Chris gets a very different kind of creditor call.
- Sketch 6: "Paid Advertisement 2" Nathan and Chris try to generate revenue for the show.
- Sketch 7: "Did We Forget To Turn Off The Iron?"
- Sketch 8: "10 Sketches In One Minute" Like it says...
- Sketch 9: "Ending World 1.1" A sort of music video set to a lighting storm in North Fort Worth.
- Sketch 10: "I Am Rage" Chris is mad.
- Sketch 11: "Paid Advertisement 3" Nathan and Chris try to generate revenue for the show.
- Sketch 12: "Manopns" The tampon that's 'cool' for guys to buy.
- Sketch 13: "Dylan And Cody Try To Get On The Show"
- Sketch 14: "Blooper Reel"
- Sketch 15: "Paid Advertisement 4" Nathan gives up on the idea.
- End Credits
The opening of this episode is sort of a throw away. I had no real plans and just thought it would be fun to do some more dino stuff. The book they are looking at is called the Dinosaur Fact Finder. I got this book several years ago at a Half Price somewhere. I'm not sure but I think Chris got it out and looked for the 'joke' names. There are a couple of other shot things like this we shot with the dinos that might show up one day in another episode.
This was supposed to be the opening for this episode. The idea was that Chris decided to get us some investors in the form of paid advertisers to help with show expenses. The people he lined up were kind of dubious. This is another one of the sketches that I thought might get us kicked off the air.
The idea for a series of sketches (like the subtle sketches) grew on me and I wanted a series called "I Wasn't Expecting That" where the punch line was: "I wasn't expecting that". I got the idea after watching some old episodes of You Can't Do That On Television. I liked the simple format and the fact that they often repeated sketches over the course of the series with slight different dialogue and/or actors, but basically the same jokes. My first original idea never made it on screen. It was a person going door to door trying to preach to people. He is well dressed and respectable looking. His speech uses the phrases: 'our Lord', 'being devout to Him' and so on. It turns out in the last bit that he is a 'Satan's Witness' then the person at the door turns and looks at the camera and states: "I wasn't expecting that". The first in this series is where a burglar breaks into a house. The joke of the person using a clapper to turn on the lights came out of the need to have the burglar caught unawares.
The next "I Wasn't Expecting That" sketch took a little more time than the rest. I hoped to make the decapitated head gag work, but it looks kinda crappy. With the 'faked' table top, angle of shoot, and cut to the next shot in fluid motion it works out pretty well.
The can of nuts "I Wasn't Expecting That" sketch was really quick and easy to shoot. You will notice Chris playing with some magic The Gathering cards too. Also, I always like making fun of Chris' expression at the end of this sketch. It is this sort of 'this sketch is a piece of crap' look. I never let it go by without mentioning it to him.
The final "I Wasn't Expecting That" sketch was shot right after the burglar sketch. I am actually talking to Chris in this sketch then using GoldWave I dropped the bass and made it sound like a phone call. We also used the clapper gag here too.
"Did We Forget To Turn Off The Iron?" took several months to finish. I could not find any burning sort of footage until one lucky day the fire department came and burned down an old house a few blocks over. I then added the fire sounds and there you go. I do feel the shot was too dark when filming Chris though.
"Ten Sketches In One Minute" took over a year to finish. We decided to collect little tiny funny bits over an extended period of time. I finally decided (in July) to find some stuff to finish this. My and the wife went swimming and I took the camera along and finished the final pieces to this puzzle. Just a some notes of interest; the taco bueno cup was real, the bag I have for the Paul Bunyan grocery store is one of those city lawn bags, the house we drive by singing Bob Shack is a little shack with the word Bob in big letters (that was from our Mexia trip as is the rust remover bit).
"Ending World 1.1" was my final attempt to get this episode done and in the can. A few years a go I emailed and got permission from Kurt Harland (lead singer of Information Society) to use his music from the album 'Don't Be Afraid'. Now, jump to early 2004. While I was working overnights I shot this lightning storm. I put the music from the album over the storm and got this promo bit that has some advertising for the show on it.
"I Am Rage" was shot on the night we shot the office sketches. Chris' rage dissipates as soon as he discovers he is not really trapped. This is the same fence that I am hanging off of in the "Worker 625" sketch.
"Manpons" was this great idea I came up with while thinking of commercial ideas. I made a dummy label in Photoshop and taped it to a box for the prop. I used my Yamaha keyboard's demo song for the soundtrack and several title screen and sound effects to finish the commercial. The bits of footage of me acting like a dork were shot while I was shooting the "Castle Silliness" sketch.
I worked with Dylan and Cody at the Target in Burleson. I got both of them together for this impromptu sketch. With the help of 'Lewis Cannon's' clothes and some groovy glasses Dylan tries to get in on the show. I remember it was later spring and the inchworms were really bad. they were hanging everywhere at my house. You couldn't move without being covered in worms and webs. One worm got on the fake pizza box (which was a real pizza box inside out) and Dylan adlibs a few worm related comments into the sketch. Dylan had a sunroof in his car so shooting them talking in it was easy. The opening and closing segments were shot months later that tied Chris and myself into the overall sketch. Chris did this 2001 Hal impersonation while I am checking my email. I sort of adlibbed it all and it worked out alright.
The bloopers in this segment were culled from over a year of shooting. There are more bloopers but these were probably the funniest.
In the closing segment the paid advertiser sketches are wrapped up with me giving up and just borrowing the money from my mom.
Episode 6: Divorce -------------------------------------------------
- Opening Segment
- Sketch 1: "We've split" Nathan explains how the episode is split between the two warring parties.
- Sketch 2: "Halloween Beginning" Beginning of unrealized Halloween episode.
- Sketch 3: "Family Of Blood" Dylan discovers he is a hemophiliac is the most ghastly way.
- Sketch 4: "France Is Hell" Dylan and Nathan discover that the French countryside is not all that it seems.
- Sketch 5: "Halloween Spot 1" Dylan does a spot for the show's time and channel.
- Sketch 6: "This Is Not NBC" Dylan abuses his right as a creative writer.
- Sketch 7: "Halloween End" The last part of the Halloween episode.
- Sketch 8: "Halloween After The Fact" Nathan and Dylan talk about the episode they just finished.
- Sketch 9: "Splish" Greenly Meadows tells the public about this fine cola... that can kill you.
- Sketch 10: "Castle Silliness" A short sketch shot with 'army men' like knights.
- Sketch 11: "Speedy Day" Nathan drives around town and does chores at the speed of light.
- Sketch 12: "Chris Drops The Ball" Nathan explains that Chris didn't turn in anything for his half of the show.
- Sketch 13: "Phoenix" Chris fights back and will take this show to new heights until he gets tired and gives up ASAP.
- Sketch 14: "I Rule" Nathan decides to put on some stuff that Chris shot since Chris has flaked.
- Sketch 15: "Mouth Games" Chris sits in the bathroom giving the audience a tune to remember.
- Sketch 16: "Chris From The Future" Chris does some time traveling.
The opening of this episode uses the comics to actually tell the story that runs through the episode. Chris and myself have a blowout and we stop working together. Neither one of us want to give up According To Whim so we agree to split the show into two separate shows. This was a nice concept but it really didn't work out cause Chris just wasn't around to get sketches for his half done. It turns out to be 48 minutes Nathan and like 12 minutes Chris. Anyway I shot the opening segment explaining to the audience what has gone on and how the episode will go down.
In September 2005 I decided I wanted to do a Halloween episode. This was to be a full 30 minutes with various horror themed sketches. Well this plan dissolved kinda quickly since I was pretty much the only one doing anything with the show at this point. I was able to get Dylan over for a few hours before the meltdown so we got a couple of things shot.
The first Halloween sketch is not a Halloween sketch at all. You see, I had this problem with the Halloween footage. For some reason it would not transmit out to video. I had to ditch the original first Halloween sketch which was me introducing the Halloween show and Dylan stabbing me. Instead we see the Munchie shack. This sketch was shot during 2004 when Dylan came over the first time to help me with the show. I did title screen and he did the voice over. There is a picture of the old comic shop that I 'doctored' to change the address and sign. The idea for this came from my wife (then girlfriend). Placing the sketch in episode 6 was an after thought. The sketch was floating around on my hard drive for months and the only place it had been previously was episode 0 (as filler). In actuality it is still filler for this bad footage that had to be replaced.
"Family Of Blood" is the actual first Halloween sketch. It was shot in September when I got Dylan to drive all the way into Fort Worth. We stood around in the hot garage trying desperately to come up with ideas. I think we belted out a few good ones. This (the longest) was to fulfill my need for copious amounts of blood. We used a vet syringe and a dishwashing liquid & red food coloring blood mixture. Yes Dylan adlibs the final speech (which is kinda rough), but all in all I am happy with the sketch.
"France Is Hell" is my favorite sketch in this episode. Well, it combined with the with the "This Is Not NBC" sketch makes for some great 'Nathanesque' comedy. We did this in the garage infront of the (now working) green screen. Yes that is a can of Splish cola that Dylan has.
In the next short clip Dylan does a promo for the show. On the first take Dylan couldn't get the window open so I am sure that will be in the next blooper reel.
"This Is Not NBC" was shot exactly like the previous France sketch. You can Dylan adlibbing badly. Take a look at his jaw as it works to form the next line he speaks. That's funny.
Next was the closing of the Halloween. Once again the footage would not work so I dropped it. It was a simple scene in the garage where I ask Dylan for a ride then climb out the window and say my goodbyes to the audience all the while Dylan is still stabbing me. As a note; the stabbing noise is one of the 'squirt' sounds that the vet syringe made in the "Family Of Blood" sketch.
This next scene of me asking Dylan what he thought of the show was also dropped.
"Splish" was an idea I came up with more than a year ago and finally realized it back in late 2004 and didn't finish it until 2005. I used Photoshop for the can graphics and taped it to a coke can. I then did the dialogue and added the Greenly Meadows stuff at the very end. On the voice over parts I slowed my voice down a lot to really drag out the length of the words. There is also a crappy math joke in the sketch too. If you haven't noticed the sale price (of a six pack) is the same as the regular price (of the single can).
"Castle Silliness" is a prime example of the fact that the shorter the sketch, the longer the final edit time. This sketch is only a couple of minutes long and only took me like 30 minutes to shoot but it took me hours of post production to bring it all together. "Castle Silliness" is a sketch using army men-type knights along with a fisher price castle I modified. The tricky part was adding all the voices and sound effect noises. I did all the voices and simply layered them over each other to create the impression of many people. I also did all the voices of the animals as wells as the deep growls of the dragon, all aided with GoldWave. The funniest part was unscripted. A bug ran across the castle as I was filming it and so it made for some funny stuff. "Oh my god Harold, look at the size of that roach!" This sketch gets a few laughs and event he attention of the Canadians. Bite TV in Canada wants to show the sketch on their station. They sent me the contracts but are having to resend them (some mistake ore something).
This next sketch: "Nathan Speedy Stuff" was my attempt to simply fill time in a creative way. I drove to my roommates parent's house and recorded the trip then I sped up the footage and put some cool music I made with the EJay music mixer program. I also recorded myself doing house work and sped that up like crazy too. It's interesting enough to watch.
After the intermission I show back up and announce that Chris didn't do anything for the show so I would show some stuff he thought would never air. At this point we see an aquarium with the AccordingToWhim.Com name on it for like 20 seconds. Then Chris dramatically shows up and states he will: 'take the show to new heights' then he promptly gets sleepy and gives up. Next is some footage of him playing his mouth tunes in the restroom. Then finally his one sketch plays.
Chris From The Future" was my idea for taking the split screen technique to a new and cheesier level. At one point in the sketch there are 3 Chris' on the screen. I think this is a good sketch but I think that it would be brilliant if we went back and made a real show effort to make it. If we: - a.) made an even better script - b.) thought out and planned the split screen stuff - c.) added more Chris we would have an excellent sketch (maybe even to fill 30 minutes). One note: This sketch starts with Chris uttering no less than 6 expletives in the first 20 seconds of the sketch. This episode was taken (by the city of Fort Worth) and placed on Fort Worth Independent School District TV. (without my input). Oh well, be it on their own heads!