Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Holidays!

It’s that time of the year again. It’s the Holiday Season! Whoop-dee-doop and dickory dock, don’t forget to hang up your sock…

Sorry, I’ve been listening to a lot of Christmas music lately so random lyrics will pop into my head at the slightest provocation. And I’m very familiar with Christmas music. Honestly, I can listen to it all year long. Does that make me a freak? Perhaps. But that’s neither here nor there.

The reason we’ve gathered here today is to celebrate the holidays LFTI-style! So let’s get to it.

First, since it’s not on yet, I thought that I would post the latest LFTI Holiday Video Greeting here in the blog! Pick a present from under the tree, pour a glass of eggnog, shove a candy cane in your mouth, make a snowball, hang some mistletoe (if you can find it, seriously they don’t sell that stuff anywhere this year! Just because it’s poisonous for pets?! So is Drain-O, but I haven’t seen them pull that from the shelves…) light a fire (safely in the fireplace), split a yule log, trim the tree, hang garland, deck halls and get ready to get into the holiday mood with LFTI!

And now that you’re of a generous spirit…BAM! I’m gonna hit you with New Music Wednesday!

And what, you may ask, is the melodious offering this week? Why it’s the soundtrack to the LFTI Holiday video of course!

So, here it is, the less-compressed version of You Could Teach Santa (a thing or two):

UPDATE: The embed doesn't seem to be working. You can hear the song here:

You Could Teach Santa (a thing or two)

As you can see, it has hit about 98 in the Holiday Music category over at Believe it or not, it has jumped from 170-something overnight. So that’s good. It only has 6 views as of this morning. So, if you want, feel free to play it everyday until Christmas. That might help the standings. Of course, you can also go to OurStage, create a profile and partake in the arduous judging process too, voting for this song all along the way (really, judging over there is no joke. It’s quite the process). But just playing it is fine too.

A little history about this song:

A few years ago, two Christmases in a row in fact, Tanya and I made Christmas albums for our families for presents. For the first album we recorded 10 original songs and for the second album we recorded 11 original songs. It was quite the undertaking (I had a lot more free time back then).

This song was on the first album and was written for my mother who really could teach Santa a thing or two about generosity, love and, as of last night, how to give his oldest son grief about his new Blackberry.

Now, so that you don’t feel cheated about receiving a “recycled” song, I painstakingly re-recorded this tune for the LFTI video. I mean painstakingly. The original was recorded on a smaller scale. In fact, I recorded it on my old computer with sample software (only 4 tracks) and the little plastic computer mic that came with it.

Oh, you know what, here it is, for the first time on the internet, the orginial version of You Could Teach Santa a Thing or Two:

Here is the link (embed not working)

You Could Teach Santa a Thing or Two (Original Version)

Have a Happy Holiday Season!

The New Year will bring all sorts of interesting stuff!


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Something's Coming!

Two somethings to be more accurate.

Robb here. I just thought I'd make a quick post to 1) apologize for neglecting the blog a little recently. And 2) explain why this poor blog has been so neglected.

It's because we hate it.

I'm kidding. There have been big doin's here at LFTI Headquarters. BIG doin's! I figured you might like a sneak peek at what's in store in the near future.

If you don't want a sneak peek of what's coming in the near future then look away from your computer monitor now (I'll tell you when it's safe to look again).

Check this out!

What are those?!

I don't know, but we have a LOT of them!

And, I didn't run this by Steve and Tanya (so don't tell them that I showed you this). But I thought you might also like to see something else that you have to look farward to.


I really don't know what the hell THAT is. It looks like a cow examining a gingerbread house to me. But my eyesight is terrible. Seriously. I need to get Lasik. But I saw Tanya get hers done, and I tell you, watching someone peel the skin off another person's eyeball is enough to put you off the process.

Anyway, there's a sneak peek for you. Aren't you excited?!

I'll just assume that you are.


Oh, and you can look at your computer monitor again.



...Oh, forget it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble x3

To all our excellent and wonderul and kick-ass fans (and anyone who may have stumbled here by accident who also just happens to be excellent and wonderful and kick-ass), a very very happy Thanksgiving! May you eat your guts out. Oh, and go [NAME OF FOOTBALL TEAM HERE]! I mean, if you're into that sort of thing, which I'm not, but if you are, great.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Triple Threat

Hugh Jackman is People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” What does that have to do with LFTI?

Nothing. It’s just that I don’t have any music or a crazy behind-the-scenes story to post and it’s my day to write on the blog.

Although I suppose it’s further proof that the people at People don’t watch our show. It’s yet another year than neither Steve or myself have even been nominated. (Okay, Steve I can understand but why not me?! Is it because that person on YouTube called me fat?!)

Anyway, there I was, watching the Today Show, minding my own business and wondering if Ann Curry was going to survive her altitude sickness (she’s on Mt. Kilimanjaro you know…it’s this big thing…), when suddenly, from the computorial area (another veiled reference to Episode 8) Tanya let out a brain-melting shriek.

All right, that’s not true. Tanya doesn’t “shriek.” And my brain is made of nearly unmeltable Tungsten. I was just trying to be dramatic. Tanya shows her frustration in a simpler way. It’s more of a steady pecking. Incessant. Constant. Pecking…

But that’s neither here nor there. Let’s move on while I still have a place to live.

The reason that Tanya was annoyed with People Magazine (online edition) is that the story about Hugh Jackman started with this sentence:

“He’s a triple threat: a star who can sing, dance and wield a weapon.”

Obviously, you can see her issue.

If you can’t, then chances are that you’re not a theatre actor (and if you don’t spell “theatre” the way I just did, chances are even greater that you’re not a theatre actor …or British).

Here’s the problem. A “Triple Threat” is an entertainer who can sing, dance and act.

That’s right. “Act.” You see, the term was coined back in the day when “acting” was a “skill” and people were called “actors” because they could “act,” because they “trained” and took their craft “seriously.” They weren’t called “actors” simply because they happen to be standing on a “stage” or in front of a “camera.”

Sorry, I went a little crazy with the quotes there. But that’s how much it annoys me too. My indigence spilled out to “innocent” words.

See, this isn’t just a problem that is confined to People Magazine. Lately it seems everyone is using the term incorrectly. I think it was Access Hollywood that referred to Brandy as a Triple Threat because she can sing, act and design clothes.


Maybe I shouldn’t be upset. At least they included “acting.” But this term actually has some meaning to those of us who know its true definition. To say that Brandy is a Triple Threat because she can design clothes cheapens us all. Most of all Brandy.

Brandy may well be a true Triple Threat. I don’t know how well she dances (I pay about as much attention to Brandy as she pays to me).

The same goes for Hugh Jackman!

“Wielding weapons” has nothing to do with it! Sure, it’s an impressive skill, but it’s not part of the “big three.” It’s something that an actor puts down in the “Special Skills” section of their resume. Right next to “can drive a stick shift car.”

I mean, if we start using the term Triple Threat all willy-nilly then who’s to say what skills constitute a Triple Threat? What can be included? Playing the saxophone? Cooking eggs? Stealing husbands? Tying cherry stems into a knot with your tongue?

I’m sure some people would love for those to be qualifiers. Angelina Jolie, I’m looking at you.

I would love to be a triple threat. I can cook eggs and play the saxophone (not at the same time…though I’ve never tried…hmmm…). Sadly, I don’t think those qualifications should count. I’ll have to settle for being a “Double Threat.” Although it could be argued that being good at two things isn’t that “threatening.” I think my official status is Actor/Singer who can “move well” (that’s code for “too fat to dance properly”).

And if “Triple Threat” continues to be thrown around without regard to its original definition then why the hell stop at “Triple?” I’m sure that Hugh and Brandy have other talents that they would like to have considered when others generalize their abilities. They’re snappy dressers. Quadruple Threat! They’re rich. Quintuple Threat (as well as a threat to the proletariat)! They seem like they might be tender lovers. Sextuple Threat!


My point is…

What’s my point? Oh yeah. My Point is that it’s Wednesday and I’ve posted.

ROBB (“Milluple Threat.” And, yes, I’m including my ability to create a motion-tracked vignette in Final Cut Studio’s “Color” program. So there.)

Don’t forget to watch LFTI! Where all the actors are at least “Single Threats.”

Steve is good with fonts.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What a Bunch of Turkey!

I have been waxing long-winded about stuff here lately, so here's a nice fluffy post that will mean nothing to the future of humanity, as did the others.

I got an e-mail from a friend who obviously does not subscribe to our large, easy-to-see iTunes podcast. He was asking me, "Hey, what does Guy's shirt say in the Thanksgiving short?"

On the off chance you have the same question because, like my friend, you obviously do not subscribe to our generously-sized, clear-as-a-crisp-New-England-winter-day iTunes podcast, here it is, in all its easy-to-see glory (click to see it even bigger):

Ah! Turkey! On board! I see! On board! A turkey!

Glad to clear that up.

We have a long and illustrious history of making custom shirts for Guy to wear. "Daddy's Boy" for episode 5. "This is My Best Shirt" for episode 6. See? Long and oh, so illustrious! When it came time to do a Thanksgiving short, we knew Guy had to wear something Thanksgivingy, and the chances of just finding something ready-to-wear were slim. Especially in September, when we actually shot the thing. Not much turkey going on in September.

I came up with two T-shirt phrases, probably just one morning in the shower. Or maybe while making graham crackers and apple butter. Though, come to think of it, I have not made graham crackers and apple butter in a few years, and I have showered recently, so it was probably more likely the former.

Two choices. Yes. The first was what you see above, and the second was "I'm with Turkey," also having the same arrow pointing to the stomachal area. (There's a veiled reference to episode 8 in that last sentence. Bookmark this page and come back in January to see what it is!)

We chose "Turkey On Board" because we had to choose something. We had trouble deciding, really. "Turkey On Board" is silly, ridiculous, and conjures a pretty amusing though unoffensive image. "I'm with Turkey" is a triple-fronted assault, referencing the famous "I'm with Stupid" shirts, pointing at a stomach full of Thanksgiving turkey, and, most disturbingly, suggesting that Guy is pregnant with a turkey baby.

It is perhaps that last item that made us go with the easier-to-digest (ba-dump BUMP!) "Turkey On Board."

Just so we can have some fun, I have re-designed the graphic, and we can now see what it would have actually been like had we chosen the other phrase. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Goin’ Nuts

Peanuts that is.

It’s time for another “New Music Wednesday!” This week I’ve got something that I’m pretty proud of.

If you’ve watched LFTI you probably already figured out that I (and Tanya and Steve, and Kathy when she was producing) like to create little “homages” to other works and styles (and if you don’t watch LFTI then what are you doing reading this?! Go watch!). Most of the time they’re not very specific, but in last year’s Halloween special and this year’s Thanksgiving special the tributes to Charles Shultz’s Peanuts are pretty obvious.

For “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Mason” I did a little Vince Guaraldi-esque theme and incidental music (and there was a tick-or-treater wearing a Charlie Brown ghost costume). We also created a “wall scene” at the end with cutout images from the short.

This year there were plans for another wall scene. But I wasn’t happy with the quality of the cutouts. They just weren’t right. So I got the idea to Peanuts-ize the cast. I think it was fairly successful. Especially since I was really rushed. In fact, in order for it not to turn out a total shambles, we pushed back the launch of the Thanksgiving short by a day.

The music was again a very important element and one that I looked forward to doing. Of course, once I actually started writing the music I had second thoughts. This kind of thing always seems so breezy, but I have to tell you, it’s incredibly stressful. Anyone who has ever stared at a blank page or lump of clay or white canvas or jeans that don’t fit anymore will know what I’m talking about (that last one may just be me). There’s the excitement of achievement mixed with an almost overwhelming despair that the result won’t meet your own expectations.

Incidentally, I think that initial feeling of despair is the reason that most people don’t do things of an artistic nature. It’s a high hurdle. In fact, in my opinion, it’s the only hurdle. How many times have you heard people say “I can’t draw (or whatever)! Nothing that I do ends up looking (sounding…) like it ‘should’!” What those people don’t realize is that almost everyone has the same thought. Even great artists (I’m not including myself here). The only difference is that they went ahead and did it anyway (and then, in some cases, tortured themselves for not living up to their own impossible standards).

Okay, so the music: Luckily, I was able to get over the early speed bumps and get the music done. It always helps to have a deadline.

This is pretty much the same type of deal as the music for ITGP,M. Only this tune is more upbeat. I once again incorporated a portion of the LFTI theme Fine Print. This time I used the bridge of that tune for the “b” section (or chorus, if you will) of this one. Now I think that I have culled all of Fine Print, so I don’t know what will happen when I write another special! I cross that bridge when I come to it I guess.

I’ll do another side-by-side comparison for you and you can hear for yourself. If you know the LFTI Theme then you may recognize what I mean. It’s the section that goes “They never told you the catch, some restrictions come attached…” You can hear a repeated and transposed cycle of that basic melody in the middle of this song.

So, without further ado, New Music Wednesday, Life from the Inside and I are proud to present the theme song from Thanks for Nothing, Mason, aptly titled…Thanks for Nothing, Mason.

Fine Print:

And also for your listening pleasure, here is the theme from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Mason:

As always, check back here for other exciting blog posts and new music!

Just so you know, I only yesterday received a new recording interface and it pretty much kicks ass. So the music quality will only go up (at least the recording quality, I can’t vouch for the content)! In fact I predict that the music for Episode 8 will rock. Some may even say it’s bodacious, bitchin’ and/or rad.

Stay tuned…


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Indie = Ingenuity

This past weekend, we finished shooting episode 8. Thrilled? Oh, good! I was hoping you woudl be.

[An aside: I seem to have a very particularly dyslexic issue when I type. Ninety-five percent of the time, I transpose the "l" and the "d" in the words "should," "could," and "would." I am constantly right-clicking to correct my misspellings of those three words in particular, and it bugs the royally-sanctioned crap out of me. Just for fun, I'm going to not correct those misspellings if they occur in this post, just so you can see how prevalent the problem is. Thank you.]

This weekend saw some firsts for LFTI: first on-location shoot that was not a friend's apartment complex; first speaking extras roles; first car shoot; first blue-screen shot.* Yes, we were really pulling out all the indie stops this weekend. Our location was craftily secured by using a tiny little white lie so that we woudl not have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars in fees. We had to shoot in a car without the proper mounts, which again saved us who knows how much money. And our blue-screen was more like blue-flannel.

I went to film school in Boston. Most of the projects on which I've been involved then and since have been low or no budget, just like LFTI. When you have no money to spend on all the tools and talent and equipment and rights and licenses and fees and protections that come with a huge budget shoot, you have no choice but to get creative. I genuinely mean "creative" here... creativity is not only key to a good script and good acting, but also good shots and lighting and music and editing and so on and so forth et cetera. The creativity that goes into writing and acting and art is a bit different than the creativity that goes into cinematography or editing, say. While technical prowess is usually helpful in any facet of life these days, it definitely helps on a shoot, so you know what equipment you have and how it works. From there, you can use your limited resources in ways for which they may not have originally been designed.

One teasingly fine example is the blue-screen we concocted on Sunday night. Yes, we needed a blue-screen. Why? Never you mind why, just enjoy the tale.

We had two choices for shooting a particular part of our script: Do some guerilla shooting on a real location, or create a cheesy facsimile using a blue- or green-screen. The cheesy facsimile seemed to fit best, so we chose to shoot against a screen. Robb and Tanya ended up having a blue sheet that, while not the exact blue of your finer, more expensive blue-screens, was just perfect for what we needed. We used two light stands to frame the sides of the sheet, then a third light stand taped across the top to finish the frame. Voilà! A simple blue-screen set-up.

Sorry for the blotches in the picture. I must have had something on my lens. Thank goodness you can still see our make-shift blue-screen set-up. (More-hyphens, any-one?)

I mentioned that we shot in a car for the first time over the weekend. I have had to be very creative in cars before, including sitting in an open trunk to shoot a car behind me as we drove through an industrial park. But Sunday was a challenge. We needed to get useful shots of Lou and Jennifer having a conversation in a car, and normally that woudl require using a follow car or a fancy hood mount. We can not afford such things as hood mounts, and we coudl not shoot on some little-used street somewhere with an illegal follow-car arrangement because the story required the car to be driving on a major road. The only way to get decent shots of Jennifer and Lou was to position the camera in front of them, near the dash, as we drove down Culver Boulevard.

We first tried a two-shot, with me holding the camera in the far front corner of the car from the back seat to get Jennifer very close up on the left of the shot and Lou in the distance on the right. That looked too peculiar, so we had to get the camera on the dash more toward the center of the car. This was simple for Lou's shots; I just sat in the passenger seat, leaned far forward, and held the camera by the windshield. When it came time to shoot Jennifer, though, I coudl not sit in the driver's seat and shoot and drive. So we did this:

Robb drove while I crammed into Corrie's footwell. She had to act with her knees almost in her face while I held the camera out on top of the dash, trying not to get my own bushy-ass hair in the frame. Kinda hard, but it was the only way we coudl do it without literally hanging out the window or something worse. I had to duck a few times as cop cars passed us.

Oh, and because there coudl be no one in the back seats, tanya had to sit here during shooting:

I understand it was rather uncomfortable and cold.

LFTI is about as independent as you can get. Often this means "MAJOR SUCK." But not for us. We want to be sure the show is as good as possible. That requires much of the aforementioned creativity, in things like the blue-screen and the car, but also in any number of things like music, credits, editing, graphics, props... I mentioned last time how proud I am of our show for the small details we add, but I am also proud for how hard everyone on the show works to get it just right. I can't wait for everyone to see episode 8. It'll be sometime in January, which is a ways off, but it shoudl be worth the wait!

[Seven. Yes, seven instances of the transposed "l" and "d." That's 100%, not 95% as I'd said. Perhaps I need more fiber in my diet, or a larger nightly dose of radiation.]


*Though some keying was done for the Mizz Chi erotic workout video, I believe this was the first time something other than a white wall was used. Forgive me if I'm wrong on that point. Robb or Tanya can correct me.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Twas the Night Before Filming

We're gearing up for another weekend of filming around the old LFTI household.

No, we don't actually all live together, weirdo.

What does this mean exactly? It means we've been emailing each other all day, reminders of what we still need to pick up, what we need to bring, etc. I spent my lunch hour on a walk with Robb, going over my lines.

See, the excitement is building because tomorrow we shoot on location. With extras. I KNOW!

This may seem pretty "par for the course", but we've only shot on location once before. And we've never had extras. So tomorrow is going to be very fun for us. And hopefully the extras too.

I'm not sure how much else I can tell you without giving the fun stuff away. Oh, I made a rather large order at Papa Johns today, so I can tell you that we will have lots of pizza on set tomorrow. And lots of neon colors. And pastels. And baked goods. And 1 rather large piece of cardboard. And someone doing an impression of a dead celebrity.

Oh yeah, it's going to be fun! And maybe a bit scary.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thanks for Nothing, Mason

Now if your name is Mason, that headline could seem like an out-of-the-blue insult. Rest assured, it’s not.

It’s the title of out latest Holiday Special!

That’s right! Last year’s Halloween Special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Mason, went so well that we decided to do another, similarly themed, short this year.

Personally, I love these little holiday specials. They’re a lot of fun for me. I especially enjoy the music. It’s a good excuse for me to get my “Vince Guaraldi” on. Not that I need a good excuse, it’s more like I need motivation. And there’s nothing like a looming deadline to actually get me to do it.

So, I hope you enjoy our latest video.

And I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Don’t forget to vote today!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Answer: This Post

Question: What’s a striptease without the strip, Alex?

You see that? I started this post all Jeopardy-like. I was just feeling a little like game show host Alex Trebek. You know…Canadian. I feel a sudden urge to speak only in answers…and québécois, eh.

Before we begin, let me just take this opportunity to speak out about something that has actually bothered me for quite some time: The “answers” on Jeopardy.

For those who don’t know, Jeopardy gives a series of answers to which the contestants must respond with the correct “question.” Example: Answer: “Americans drink its milk more than any other animal.” Question: “What is a cow?”

Seems pretty straightforward to me. But most of the question/answers aren’t that simple, and for good reason; the show would be incredibly lame. Also the show wouldn’t be a rallying point for the country’s intellectually snobified.

Oh, you think I’m being too hard on Jeopardy-watchers, eh? Well, let’s deconstruct the show a little and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

If I were to ask you, “what is Dublin?” You’d probably answer, “It’s the capital of Ireland.” Then I’d ask, “Why is Ireland the richest country in the world?” You’d look at me expectedly and I’d continue, “Because it’s capital (capitol) is always Dublin!” And we’d laugh! Oh what a time we’d have! Being real.

Now ask a snobby Jeopardy-watcher “what is Dublin?” They’d say something like “in the early 70s, U.S. airplanes were granted landing rights in this city northeast of Shannon.”

And all reasonable people just slowly shake their heads at the pomposity. What kind of answer is that? I didn’t ask about landing rights or geographical proximity to other large population hubs. “What is Dublin?” It’s a simple question.

“What is horseracing?”

“In 1974, of Baseball, Football and Horseracing, it’s the one that drew the largest live attendance in the United States.”


Now tell me that Jeopardy-watchers aren’t a bunch of academic show-offs!

Anyway, I can’t sit here indulging my own sense of outrage forever, I have editing to do! Which brings me to the point of this post, to tease the next LFTI video! Yeah!

So here it is:


I finished the music yesterday and I’ve been torturing the cast and crew with it since. You’ll also have the opportunity to be tortured, two weeks from today on New Music Wednesday!

Can’t wait can you?


Monday, October 27, 2008

Sweating the Details

Do you know what I really like about our show? Do you know what makes me very proud to be a part of it? Our attention to detail, and, through that, our nearly masochistic habit of giving ourselves lots of tiny challenges for each episode and short.

In pre-production for episode 8, we have already found many humorous tiny little things to add to the show that are not necessarily called out in the script. Each "tiny" little thing requires some extra work: looking for a weird prop here, constructing something from scratch there, designing a logo yonder... However, I can't really talk about episode 8 yet. I'd hate to ruin any of it for you. So let's consider something from the series of shorts we just finished up that introduce Lou.

We have a nice little back story for Lou, and though she's still quite a mystery even to us, there are some clues to her character sprinkled about. The most enlightening one of these is her briefcase.

Lou met Kate in Tori Spelling's garage. At least that's her story. We decided to assume it's true for the purposes of getting ourselves out of a logic loop. Now, Lou says verbally that she lived in Tori's garage, but what could we do to support that visually? We decided that the briefcase Lou uses should be an old one that Tori's dad, Aaron, used to use. Lou "borrowed" it from Tori, who, for all we know, is living in Aaron's old house, and the briefcase was just there on a shelf in the garage for decades.

Okay, that's a fun, simple idea. Lou has Aaron Spelling's old briefcase. Right. So here's where this one small decision creates a pile of tasks.

First, we had to find a suitable briefcase. It had to look expensive, since Aaron was rich even in the '70s, but it couldn't cost us too much. We are a no-budget show, after all. Tanya and Robb secured a fairly cheap one that looked good enough to pass for pricy. But how were we to pass it off as Aaron Spelling's briefcase? Well, obviously, it needed to be monogrammed. The initials A. S. mean nothing, so Aaron's whole name needed to be on the briefcase. How could we do that without sending the briefcase out to actually be monogrammed? Paint! We had to find just the right size and style of letters we could use to get Aaron's name just so on the case. From among several choices, we decided to use some small Garamond letter stamps from Michael's. We tested the letters with some silver paint, but the paint did not stamp well. It was gloppy and did not look good at all. Luckily, during a late afternoon trip one day to an art store, Robb and I found just what we needed: a silver-inked stamp pad! The silver stamp pad worked perfectly. We positioned the name in a place where it would most likely be seen when the briefcase was on-camera.

Okay, so the briefcase now had Aaron's name on it, but what more could we do to hint at the case's history? The answer for us was to include headshots, publicity stills, and a shooting script for the pilot of The Love Boat. Yes, Aaron was using this case during casting and pre-production of The Love Boat, but had stopped using it soon afterward. It hadn't seen any use until Lou absconded with it, perhaps only hours earlier. Fine. Sounds great. But now there was that much more to work on. I found some great photos online, one of Gavin MacLeod as Captain Stubing, and one of the whole original Love Boat cast. I also happened to have the font used for the Love Boat "title treatment" (an annoying term we use inside the industry), though I had to use an O from another font.

I put these together to create fake publicity shots. Then I created a cover page for the original Love Boat script, complete with coffee stains and such. You don't even get to see the script in the final short, but it's there, it adds heft, and when Lou starts pulling all this crap out of the case, the dimension it adds is tangible

That was all quite a bit of extra work, just for a smidge of detail. And each video we shoot has quite a few of these "little" items. One might think it's sad to put so much work into these details, and then have them never be noticed. What I think all of us agree on is that it is worth the extra work. If someone happens to be on a second or third viewing (which our marketing department assures me is quite common amongst our fan base), they might start to notice these little touches. But even if they never notice them, the atmosphere the details create works subconsciously.

And that, dear reader(s), is why I am proud to work on this show. If you like, go give "*subject to change" another viewing and pay special attention to the briefcase. Or watch any of our shows. You'll see a lot of love and time and care in each one.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cute Puppies Galore!

We are hard at work on Episode 8 at the LFTI headquarters. But every once in awhile we need a nice break. Nothing is better than watching puppies on a webcam. Enjoy!

So, when not entertaining myself with random things online, I am busy shopping for props for our next episode. This can be highly entertaining, but I can't divulge what exactly we are shopping for as it will give to much fun stuff away about the next full ep.

I will tell you that rehearsals have been great fun. Some of our characters will be a little different for this episode and it makes rehearsals more fun than usual. Although it does not help with the horrible "giggling when I am uncomfortable" thing I do.

Now I'm off to find more stuff! I'll give you a hint, I may be looking for one of these. Or I could just be spending too much time in YouTube. I guess you'll have to wait and see!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Music Wednesday

That’s right, you heard the headline correctly. It’s “New Music Wednesday” here at the LFTI blog!

Thank you! You’re too kind. No, please. Take your seat. Thank you. Thank you.

Okay, are you done celebrating yet?


Now I’m starting to feel as if your overzealous adulation is just patronizing. But if you assure me it’s not…

All right, now lets get to the music! But, if I might, I’d like to elucidate on today’s musical offering in the most pretentious way possible.

Might I?

Yes, I might.

Today’s selection comes from the “hit” LFTI Short “Appreciation.” The official title is “Los Angeles Variations on Appreciation.” The name of which I have just this second christened it as a purely pretentious irony, noting that the musical theme does not actually vary during the piece.

Please take a second to start the playback, and then read the following critical analysis as intellectual accompaniment to this musical experience:

Los Angeles Variations on Appreciation: A Study.

A lone clave marks time, preamble to a subtly nuanced piece that makes use of traditional as well as non-traditional instruments. The formality of the string instruments and heartiness of the brass contradict the ukulele, vocalized “la-las” and whistling, serving as a commentary on the duplicity of Los Angeles itself.

The steady, relentless repetitive rhythm, bass and heavy horns lay a solid foundation for the more whimsical melody, invoking the monotony of LA city life that underscores the dreamlike flights of fancy of its inhabitants. Pizzicato strings rise to great heights only to do so again – with the same ending note – only four beats later, maintaining an almost cruel equilibrium. All of which is played up even more in the return to the “A” section where the plucked strings are counterpointed by falling trumpets repeating the low brass.

This ebb and flow leads to the dreamlike “B” section with virtually no perceptible build whatsoever. The melody of the chorus floats lightly above the already-established underscore before being awaken by the simple piano montuno from the opening and returning to the more familiar theme of the “A” section.

Copious use of glissando harp evokes the mystical namesakes of Los Angeles as the entire piece deconstructs to its inevitable end.

…And you have probably stopped reading this by now, haven’t you?

I don’t blame you. Did you at least listen to the tune? I hope so. I had a lot of fun working on it.

And thus concludes “New Music Wednesday.” Tune in next time when Spiderman says *mwahm*.


(I apologize for those of you who are foreign fans and did now watch the Electric Company. That last sentence probably made no sense whatsoever.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hell, That's Where!

The subject of this post assumes you've been asking the following question of me: "Where the hell have you been?" That is the first most commonly-asked question I've received in the last month or so. The second most commonly-asked question is, "And did you bring me back something nice?"

Really, have I been in hell? Well, no. I've been in Australia! And San Francisco! One was not hell, one was a sort of very mild hell. Very very mild hell. Mild like a yellow capsicum.

Australia was a just-over-two-week trip that I had been planning with a friend of mine for over a year. It was a fantastic time, but needless to say, I was not going to be posting LFTI news while I was in the southern hemisphere. My posts would have been all backwards because of that. Despite this fact, Australia was not hell.

As soon as I was back from Australia, I had to leap right into production on a work thing. I produce and run the audio video portions of our major gatherings, see, so I had lots and lots of meetings and plannings and goings on to deal with. Then it was off to San Fran for 9 days to hole up in a ballroom for 18 hours a day and eat room service over and over and over again. Thus was San Francisco a very mild form of a relatively pedestrian, low-rent hell.

Poor poor me!

But now, all that is behind me. My new most important project is LFTI episode 8! Though I missed some rehearsals while I was away, the couple I was at were great fun, and I think this episode is going to be much funnier than I had originally anticipated. Not that I thought it was going to be unfunny, mind you. It's always been funny. But now that we have Laura in full gear and Stephen Simon has joined us, we have a crack team of humorists ready to humorize their humorous guts out. That's something you're going to love to see, trust me!

Since I'm the one who loves to ruin all the surprises around here via lists of wacky-sounding nonsense, I may as well be the one to tell you that episode 8 has nothing to do with kittens, clay poker chips, Slip 'n' Slide, avuncular shenanigans, suspect propane regulators, brie, thumbtacks, Virgin Galactic, ceramic figurines, or capsicums.

I have to warn you, however, that thumbtacks may be involved without our knowledge. And yes, I did learn what a capsicum is while I was in Australia. The only capsicums that could potentially be involved in episode 8 is if for craft services we order pizza with peppers. Those won't end up on-camera, though, so you have nothing to worry about.

Finally, in conclusion, to summarize... No, I'm sorry. I did not bring you back something nice. I could not keep the Mövenpick from melting.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


It's a special Saturday post. How exciting!

Robb is getting ready for Laura to come over and loop her lines for the next short that will go up on Monday. Let's just say we were filming some place that made recording sound a bit of a problem (and it wasn't just the loud refrigerator in our apartment!).

I believe this is the last thing that needs to be done for the short. The credit sequence is finished and it looks amazing! I can't wait for everyone to see it, Robb really has outdone himself.

I guess that's really all that's going on around here. The new video will be up Monday - start your countdown now!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What Wine Goes Best With Piano?

A better question for this post might be, “what piano goes best with wine?” But I thought that was a confusing headline. That’s why I didn’t use it. In retrospect, it seems that I probably made the wrong decision. But I’m determined to keep looking ahead and leave the past where it belongs. We just can’t keep living in the past.

Speaking of not living in the past, have you seen our last video? It’s called “Pairing.” It went up the Monday before last and, with the economic crises and all, is just as relevant today as it was then.

Exactly the same amount of relevance. Guaranteed!

As you, loyal reader, have already surmised, it’s the Wednesday one week after the Monday on which a video hit the internet (not convoluted, trust me, it just seems like that to you because you don’t really understand my system) and that means the it’s “New Music Wednesday!”

Hey, I like that. “New Music Wednesday.” Makes me feel like a DJ at a fancy FM station! Look for the LFTI wet tee-shirt contest coming soon, and don’t forget that the 13,653rd caller will receive tickets to a private “online only” viewing party of all 7 episodes of LFTI as well as the shorts and specials! It’ll be taking place over at YouTube or or and will be held at the winner’s discretion, all you need to enter is a computer and about 3.5 hours of free time (note: the cast and crew of LFTI are not obligated to participate)!

Anyway, let’s get to the music.

As you know, I struggled with this one quite a bit. I wanted fancy-schmancy piano music. New York style. Citified. Like all people who drink wine.

One problem: I’m not a fancy-schmancy piano player. Not even close. So what you’re about to hear required a lot of effort and some editorial magic.

So crack open a bottle of your favorite Petit Syrah and enjoy the theme from Pairing (I guess I just answered the question from the headline. Petit Syrah goes with piano. It’s not just for beets anymore!).

I’ve just finished the music for the next video and I have to say that I’m pretty happy with it. Now I just have to do justice to the end credits that I have planned!

Especially since Tanya just tweeted about how great they’re going to be. Thanks, Tanya. No pressure now!


Left out of LFTI tweets? Why not follow us? It’s fun and free. And you won’t look like such a jerk.

Oops, I shouldn’t have said that. But it’s done now. Forget the past.

Onward to the FUTURE!

**Oh, one more thing. The Distractionation Bossa has reached #28 on the Latin charts over at! Sweet! It’s an all user vote system, so I have to be happy with that! Sign up and vote if you’d like to help out.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Gettin' A Good Start On 8

It's Friday and I've actually remembered to post! That must mean the world is going to end or something.

You see, I'm the person who came up with the idea of each Producers posting once a week, that way our blog would get updated at least 3 times weekly. And now I'm the one who forgets the most often to post. Or, I actually remember, but then I'm too busy at my day job on Fridays to get anything done.

But not today! No sir! I'm even starting to write this before noon. Which is another miracle in of itself. I'm telling you people, you may want to go out and buy some bottled water or something, cause this may be a bad sign. Or a good one I guess, depends on if you like my slapped together writing style or not.

So, this week has been pretty exciting. We had our table read for Episode 8 on Wednesday, which was a ton of fun. It's always a good sign when a cast member starts laughing at the lines so hard that we have to stop and wait for her to catch her breathe and try to get through her lines without breaking. Both times we read through the scrip this happened! It was extremely amusing to watch.

So yeah, Episode 8, pretty darn funny, if I do say so myself. And I do.

We are also very excited about our guest star, Stephen Simon. He's part of the comedy team "Ten West" (if you have not seen them perform, you have no idea what you are missing out on. They are brilliant! Hi Jon!)

Mr. Simon was one of those "wouldn't it be great if we could get him" people. Lucky for us we could.

(As a side note, I am now only going to call him Mr. Simon because I have way too many Steve's, Stephen's, Steven's in my life to keep them all straight. And I'm not fond of calling people by their last name only like a football coach, I think it's because I spent a lot of my life having people holler "IHNEN" at me since my whole family was in sports and it was a hard habit for people to break seeing as how I'm the youngest.)

Um, so where was I? Oh yeah, Stephen Simon. He's pretty darn funny. And tall. And we can't wait to get this episode up and running. We haven't even started rehearsals yet!!

I guess that's all for now. I'm going to go and be overly proud of myself for not only posting today, but getting it done before my lunchtime.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Holy Crap, It’s Wednesday!

It’s my day to post here at the venerable LFTI Blog.

Since it’s not the Wednesday one week after the latest video went up, it’s not quite time to post the music from the last “episode” yet. Therefore, I’m at a loss for what to say.

I was just on Facebook replying to a college friend (and former roommate) who commented on the “what are you doing right now” message that I posted there.

Facebook, and other online “social networking” sites are big on that. “What are you doing right now?!” “What?!” “I must know!!” “The WORLD must know!!”

Does anyone really care? And is it really anyone’s business anyway?!

No. They don’t and it’s not.

But it inspired me to go ahead and tell you what I’m doing right now:

I was just on Facebook replying to a college friend (and former roommate) who commented on the “what are you doing right now” message that I posted there.

I replied with this:


A winking smiley face emoticon.

Sometimes I horrify myself. An emoticon?! There was a time that I swore up and down that I would never use an emoticon. I could simply find no reason that I ever would use one. They’re trite and stunted.

I’ve avoided other similar fads. I’ve never once told anyone to talk to my hand – or any other bodily appendage for that matter. Sure, I’ve raised the roof once or twice, but always ironically. I’ve never told a girl to “go.” I’ve never thought anything was da’ bomb or all that – with or without chips. I’ve dabbled in l33t speak, again, as a joke (and it can be kind of fun), but I swear that I was just experimenting.

I’ve never LOLed.

Not ever. (author’s note: this is not a guarantee)

I’ve never ROFLed, LMAOed, or it’s dirtier cousin LMFAO. I’ve never wondered “WTF?” or marveled “FTW?!” I’ve had to BRB a few times, but that’s just because I was being lazy.

I avoid these things like the plague. And that’s not an easy task when you spend as much time communicating online as I do. It’s a requirement of having an online sitcom. But I’ve never bowed to any of those acronyms. I don’t mind that our fans use them. Our fans kick ass and can type any way they want to. Hell, I don’t even care that anyone uses them. But I’m an old man and I refuse to use them.

What other options do I have?


The occasional emoticon. Don’t hate me. Emoticons can be marvelously effective. When nothing really needs to be said and yet you really want to say something, It can seem like the only option. They’re trite and stunted.

I’ve talked in circles. Good. Just another Wednesday.

I’m off to try and figure out what music to put under the next video. I’m listening to the Ventures at the moment, so I’m thinking maybe something like that? Who knows? It’s Ventures Christmas music. Yes, the Ventures put out Christmas music. And yes, I’m listening to Christmas music. Yes, it’s only October 1st. One thing you may or may not know about me is that I’m a freak for Christmas music. I don’t know why, but I am. I’m not ashamed of it.

Well, maybe a little.

I also have to get ready for a table read tonight! We’re having the first table read for out next episode. It’s a full-length episode too! Not another short. LFTI back in full swing! I can’t wait.

You like that? I put the pertinent LFTI info at the end of the post! And, very little of it at that!

You’re welcome.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Feelin’ Low Down

Not really.

It’s the Wednesday one week after the latest video went up, and you know what that means?!

What do you mean “no?!” If it’s Wednesday then it means that I’m (Robb) blogging! And if it’s one week after the latest video hit the net then it means that I’ll be posting the music from that video.

That’s what!

Of course, I’m speaking to you specifically.

You know, they say that a good blog should speak in the singular. “You.” “Me.” “Us.” As in, “I’m going to post new music so that you can hear it, and we should give me all your money.”

The reason for the singular personal approach is so that you can make a better connection to the reader. That way a multitude of people can feel as if they’re being addressed specifically. It helps to bond the reader to the author. Especially if that author makes a furtive request for cash.

However, in this case, I’m actually talking to you. The one person still reading this blog.

So, thank you. You’re the reason that I’m avoiding putting the finishing touches on our next video (which will be up Monday! And, yes, I did “finish” the music!).

Okay, so let’s get to the music.

I’ve been causing myself some undue headaches lately. See, I’ve been temping the videos with Apple Loops.

Perhaps I should clarify that last sentence. “Temping” means that I’m using temporary music to help me edit (something that I don’t usually do as I like to cut to the rhythm of the dialogue normally). And Apple Loops are little pieces of music and/or parts of pieces of music that come with Garage Band or Logic or Soundrack that can be mixed together so that anyone can have professional sounding scores on their projects. Apple Loops is not – I repeat – not a cereal.

I’ve been using Apple Loops “jingles.” Small “complete” musical phrases for various purposes. If you’ve ever watched a podcast or an online show you’ve most likely heard some. They’re very popular. And for good reason. They’re good.

And handy.

But I’m a snob. I want our show to have completely original music. So I avoid using the Apple Loops Jingles. I use plenty of Apple Loops, but they’re usually drum parts and fairly well hidden. The last thing I want people to do is recognize any of them.

I used an obvious one to score the “Mizz Chi Workout Video.” But that’s because Mizz Chi would have used it. I also used a bunch for the “JC Joe” video from episode 3. But you never really hear it so… (speaking of JC Joe, I can’t wait to get the LFTI DVD out there! Why did JC Joe remind me of it? Who knows…?! Hmm.).

But for the most part, I avoid any of the Apple Jingles. However, as I said, I’ve been temping the videos with them and they fit so well that I want to emulate them with my own original music. Alas, as I have also said, the Apple Loops Jingles are really good. They’re written, played and recorded by professionals.

So me trying to emulate them is a bit like asking my little nephew to “repaint the Mona Lisa…but as a dude.”

It’s hard, and a bit above my resources. But I’ve been trying. And what you’re about to hear is my first attempt. It’s a bluesy little number. It doesn’t really go anywhere (it’s a blues remember, they never go anywhere), but it fit the video nicely. So, it did its job.

No loops here!

Lou’s Blues:

Thanks for listening. And don’t forget that the next video will be up on Monday!


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dropping Balls

There’s been a lot of ball-dropping going on around here.

I don’t know why that last sentence made me think of Junior High School.


I don’t know where your mind is, I simply meant that in Jr. High School I played on the school basketball, football and baseball teams. And I was terrible at all of those sports.

Okay, I take it back, I wasn’t on the school basketball team. They actually made cuts. Needless to say I was one of those cuts (but I played pee-wee basketball before that …Okay, that last sentence made me think of college). But I was literally the only extra player on the Junior High baseball team (not counting pitchers). I was the sole substitute, and yet I still managed to be considered “third string.” Seriously. And I was only on the football team after my mom convinced the coach that I just HAD to be a member of the team…halfway through the season! Mortifying.

So, that’s the reason that the “ball-dropping” sentence made me think of Junior High School.

No other reason.

…Oh, and I also went through puberty at that time.


It gets complicated…

I sometimes still think I’m going through puberty. I mean, when will my voice get deeper?! I sound like Carol Channing on helium for god’s sake!

Anyway, as I was saying, we here at Life from the Inside: Blog Edition, have been sorely remiss in our duties as internet “publishers.” And for that we apologize. You see, Steve is in Australia and Tanya is…

So, we’re sorry.

I’m even more sorry since I’m going to leave you with this lame post today. See, I’m having a hell of a time with the music for our next video. I mean a colossally hard time. It’s taken me longer to get this music right than it did to edit, write and shoot the short! I’m not even exaggerating.

And I’m off to work on it some more right now.



Oh, and I might have been the worst right fielder the city of Spokane has ever seen, but by being on the team I got to wear the cool team windbreaker! Sure, my windbreaker was made in the 70s and everyone else got new ones, but I still got to wear it! And I didn’t even have to do anything!

I was so cool.

New video out on the 29th! (Maybe it'll even have music)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Speaking of G'Day...

What's my sorry excuse for not posting Monday like I was supposed to?


I wasn't on vacation yet, but still... I'm leaving on a pretty big trip, so I've been distracted all week getting ready. I'm going to Australia. It's going to be marvy fun. Thanks to a plentitude of miles, I get to fly there in this fancy seat:

Er, well, yes, it looks like one of those Japanese capsule hotels, exploded for easy viewing, but this is going to be my seat. Indeed, this First Class Travel Pod will probably afford me more room than a capsule hotel. I think it includes a sound- and fellow-passenger-drunk-on-free-booze-proof forcefield.

So I'm off tonight on this exciting adventure. I'll be gone until September 28th. If I find any time to post about LFTI while I'm away, I shall! But I plan on being off the grid for most— er, I'm sorry, I meant "off the grid." That is a phrase that deserves quotes. I plan on being "off the grid" for most of the trip.

In the meantime, enjoy Monday's new Lou short! It's great. And Robb outdid himself on the credits.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Who’s the Bossa?

or: Blame it on the bossa nova.

Bossa, bossa, bossa.

What’s all this bossa talk about? Well, it’s about bossa. Duh. Do want me to be clearer? Okay. Fine.

It’s about the bossa nova.

More specifically, it’s about “The Distractionation Bossa.” A little tune I wrote for our last video, The Distractionation Index.

Since the theme of the short was somewhat “clinical” I wanted to write background music that had a “Doctor’s Office” feel. You know, Musak. Just a little ditty to invoke feelings of sitting in a waiting room.

Easier said than done.

First of all, say what you want about musak or “elevator music,” the truth is that a vast majority of the music we all try so desperately to tune out is in actuality composed and played by very highly skilled studio musicians. Very highly skilled. In fact, in a lot of cases it’s played by the same people who back up big name artists. Because, let’s face it, a gig is a gig, dad.

Now, at one time, it could have been argued that I was – on my way to becoming – a good instrumentalist. Those days are gone. Now I’m a sometimes saxophone player trying desperately to remember all the correct fingerings. Which is tough enough when I’m paying the saxophone. When I’m trying to play the flute I’m a…well, a saxophone player trying desperately to remember all the correct fingerings.

Lucky for me they’re pretty much the same fingerings. But I still play the flute like a hack saxophone player. Though in my defense, I never really played the flute anyway. Only when the music called for it in jazz band (which was rare).

But my mother bought me a cool vintage 60s flute so I thought I should use it (my aunt gave away my mom’s flute; the one I used in college. But I’m not going to complain about it here in this blog. That would be petty. Even though I used it for 5 years and it had sentimental value. Besides, I’m sure my aunt’s son’s wife’s cousin deserves it more than I do. Awesome.).

The other hurdle I encountered was that I had never written a bossa before.

I listened to a lot of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao and Astrud Gilberto before I started, but that only made things worse since they pretty much invented the genre and no one has done it better since. Big shoes.

By the way, I think the biggest injustice in music is that “Girl from Ipanema” has been dubbed the ultimate elevator tune. My god that song is great! Seriously. I know I’m not helping to sell myself as a “hip and fresh” writer of internet “content” by saying that, but I don’t care. The kids today, with their Jonases and their girl-on-girl kissing, wouldn’t know good music if it were played over the PA system at the local Chico’s!

But I digress. I struggled to write a good bossa. It was tough. However, I persevered. I fought through. I made it out of the dark Brazilian jungle to the shores of Rio. And I did it all for the show!

So, without further ado, I’ll put down my cross and present The Distractionation Bossa:

I’m no studio musician sure, but then again, I don’t have a studio.

So there.


Oh! Don’t forget that our latest video is going to be posted on Monday! Hooray!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Holiday Speciality

We're in the middle of prepping to shoot this weekend. Should be fun and weird - now I understand when actors talk about how odd it is to shoot holiday stuff way before it happens.

See, we're getting ready to shoot a little holiday special - which is going to be very funny, but still, it's like 87 degrees here today and we have to get in the mindset of the holidays. Which I guess shouldn't be too hard since it's always still around 87 degrees here during the actual holidays. Ah Los Angeles, sometime I really hate your lack of "weather".

One of the hardest parts of getting a holiday special ready was trying to find all of the correct food type stuff without getting hosed on the prices. At least all of the stores already have decorations in stock. I know everyone makes jokes about the stores getting holiday stuff in earlier and earlier every year, but Costco has Christmas decorations up already! And while that may make Robb really excited, it just makes me sad. Of course you don't see me complaining when the Halloween candy is in the stores early.

Also, who knew it was so hard to find someone that owned a gravy boat? I mean, I don't own one, but I figured I must know someone who does?! Of course, I only asked 2 people, but still, I thought my odds were pretty good.

I will be able to tell you more about the special after it airs. It's been fun to get ready for this one, we even had a cast bar-b-que on Labor Day to hang out and make some props. Yes, we can multitask with the best of them! Unfortunately Corrie had the stomach flu on Labor Day, so she was sent home from the last rehearsal with supplies and told to make her own prop. I can't wait to see how it turned out!


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Not Just for Hippies Anymore

Let’s talk about flashbacks. Why not? After all, Steve suggested in his post yesterday that I should mention them (or someone should). Let it never be said that I’m not a puppet.

When we learned that we needed to replace Kate’s character, one of the very first ideas that came up was to bring in another agent for Mason, one to which Mason was “willed” so to speak. Someone to pick up the mantle and carry on for Kate who was off doing…well, whatever it is that Kate’s doing (what is Kate up to anyway?!).

Since we needed the new character to be able to jump into the fray feet first, we worked out the idea to reveal that she’s been there from the beginning, hiding in the shadows, taking notes, biding her time until she was needed.

Yes, she. There was really no question about the fact that the new cast member would be a woman. We liked the dynamic we created, and wanted to keep that. Plus, most sitcoms out there are male-dominated. And the ones that aren’t seem to be very…well…vagina-centric (though, nowadays, most male-dominated sitcoms are penis-centric, so…). We like the idea that our show has more women in it, but isn’t a show focused on gender. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.

Anyway, the idea that we would have to put our new character (Lou) into some of our old scenes was something that appealed to me from the start. I like that kind of thing. I thought it would be fun.

And it was!


Why did Steve want me to tell this “story?” there’s really not much to it after all, is there? We restaged some old shots and put Lou into them. Here, end of story.

There were a few stumbling blocks, sure. Tanya and Corrie seemed to have pawned all of their old clothes (probably to pay for drugs). So we had to dress them in “reasonable facsimiles” of their former costumes. However, due to my genius camera work, it went mostly unnoticed.

Sure, you could freeze-frame some of the flashback scenes and see that Ashleigh isn’t wearing the same shirt in the alley scene that she was in Episode 2. That it is instead one of my white dress shirts with the collar tucked under and that her hair is actually tied up in a bun being that it’s about 20 feet longer now than it was then.

You could (if you had the “eaglest” of eyes) also see that Jennifer’s shirt is a different color in the party scene from Episode 1, and that, in actuality, the geography of the scene is all wrong.

You might also see in the fumigation scene from Episode 4 that Guy’s jacket is not the same, and that the “puppet” laying in front of him is really Tanya wearing a red shirt and with very “color-corrected” blond hair (Sam, the Puppet, was off having adventures with Kate and could not participate in the re-shoot).

It’s possible that you’ve already noticed that “Eric” fleeing from Mason’s apartment in the night-vision camera from Episode 5 is not played by Joel Bryant, but is in actuality…me. I say that you may have noticed it because it’s a bravura performance. It really stands out! Even with my face covered by napkins, you can see the talent (and that, Joel, is how it’s done)!

We were able to bring Stephen William Moore back to reprise his role as Sid though! Which is good, because no one poops like Stephen! He’s a natural. Some say he’s been doing it all his life!

And it shows!

There is one thing though that will definitely not stand out. And that is Mason in the laundry room from Episode 3. Yes, I had to recreate the pose and the costume. But, seeing that I don’t need the drugs, I still had my costume. And seeing that I’m a brilliant mimic, especially when it comes to imitating myself, something I do nearly all the time, I was easily capable of recreating the pose.

It doesn’t hurt that I have literally not aged a day since we shot Episode 3.




And something else that you can’t tell from the video is the fact that – seriously – the weekend following our shoot in the laundry room, the apartment managers replaced the old laundry room door with a very different, black, hobo-deterring, security gate. And would have replaced it the week before we shot if it weren’t for some kind of worker confusion (the only time worker confusion has ever worked in our favor around here).

So there were cracks in the veneer of our flashback shoot, but like I said, you’ll never see them because only a moron would point them out.

And only a complete moron would tell people to watch the video on iTunes or the “Hi-Resolution” version on our site to see it more clearly.

Thankfully, I’m not a moron.

What I am is a composer. And, while you won’t have to suffer through it now, I’ll be posting the “Distractionation Bossa” from our last video here, in its entirety, next week! Look (listen) for it! I play the flute (thanks for the flute, mom)!

What I also am is an editor. An editor working on our next short. And I’m about to give you a preview!

Here you go:

The short will hit the internet on September 15th! And it’s funny.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Romance of Blind Dogma

Happy post Labor Day, everyone! And if you live in a country other than the U.S., no, it makes no sense.

I of course was supposed to post yesterday, but as it was a holiday and I spent a good portion of the day hanging out with the LFTI cast making secret props for our next shoot, I ran out of time. So you get me today.

I hope you have all enjoyed the new short that went up yesterday, "The Distractionation Index." This is my first writing and directing gig on LFTI, so this is a good jumping off point to talk about the Lou shorts in more detail.

So you certainly understand by now that the first short, "*subject to change," was meant to be a "fake" episode. When we came up with the idea of Lou and who she was and how she would interact with the characters, we decided that instead of a full-blown episode dealing exclusively with Lou's entrance, it'd be fun to do a series of shorts that set up her relationship to each of the other main characters. To start that off, however, we needed Lou's grand entrance.

We came up with the idea that the first short starts off as the most ridiculous episode of LFTI—or perhaps any sitcom—ever. Each character comes into the apartment and adds to the insanity in more and more eye-rolling ways until it's time for Kate's entrance, and then... uh, that's not Kate. "Who the hell are you?" As you know by now, Lou brings the proceedings to a halt (thankfully), reveals a bit of her background, solves everyone's lunatic problems, and then is off in a flash. Oh, except that she creates difficulties of her own, thus fitting perfectly into Mason's world.

The flashbacks are really the core of "*subject to change," and they were the most fun to create. Except my Arby's hat. Eh, I take it back... the Arby's hat was a pain in the ass to create. That's why I'm going to be damn sure to wear it for all future semi-formal occasions.

As pain-in-the-assish as the Arby's hat was, and as fun as the Lou flashbacks were to shoot, I'll leave those subjects for another time. The flashbacks alone deserve a full post. Who knows? Someone else might write about them sooner than you think. Or not. Really, we don't plan these posts out as good as all that.

So this week is the first of the four follow-up shorts showcasing Lou in her escapades with the rest of the cast. Thanks to Lou's character already being so strongly defined, I got the idea that it would be very funny to see Lou showing flash cards to someone as some kind of useless but very serious but not at all that serious test. The funniest pairing for that was obviously Jennifer or Guy, but Robb already had a hilarious Lou/Guy short, so Jennifer it was. Writing the short was actually very easy, because the main ideas were solid, I guess, and so the absurdity of the situation was all that had to be invented. I can invent absurdity well.

I will probably not be asked this question, so I'll answer it to be sure I never am: Do the flash cards have any deep meaning? No. The only questions I asked when thinking up the flash cards were, "What's amusing to put on a flash card?" and "How can the humor of the cards build?" The cards were not thought about in connection with the actual dialogue. Which leads to an interesting psychological puzzle: The cards appear to be random yet symbolic when paired with the dialogue. Since I claim the cards were dreamed up mostly randomly, does this mean my own subconscious mind was at work inventing the proper flash cards for the proper moments in the script? If so, what does this short say about me and my mind? Discuss. 20 points.

During shooting in the side yard of the apartment, we were assaulted with the usual assortment of environmental sounds, including cars and planes and birds. We even got a sample of someone's personal music playlist. Because of this, Robb thought it'd be fun to use those sounds and even add to them. Thus the surreal and faintly distracting noises you may or may not hear underneath the dialogue of "Distractionation." Robb might have some fun and interesting things to say regarding the sound AND MUSIC *AHEM AHEM* he created here.

Not only was the short my first LFTI directorial effort, but it was my first since film school. I love and respect all the LFTI cast, so it was interesting trying to balance my original concept for the short, the new and fun stuff the actors brought in their acting satchels 'o goodness, and the realities of real-world shooting. I know I could have done some things differently, but I'm very happy with the short. I can't wait to direct some more and learn from my mistakes.

"The Distractionation Index" is probably our most pseudo-experimental LFTI video yet, and I'm glad everyone was so supportive of it. I'm also glad it's getting good feedback so far. A british friend of mine was particularly fond of it, which is the best compliment we can receive.

I think the next Lou short is going to be a  big hit as well, and we can't wait for that to go up on September 15th!

Oh, and P.S.: Japanese Noh mask and phrenology chart down, bone with a bow, Red Vines, and romantic mood lighting to go.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thank You

We just want to send out a great big THANKS! to everyone who commented on this post over at TV Week.

We're seriously blushing over here, you guys said some really nice things about our show and the flattery is overwhelming!

I can't remember what else I was supposed to write about today. My parents are visiting this weekend and my mind is distracted with thoughts of "how quickly can I clean my apartment?" and "What would be a fun thing to do with my parents tomorrow?"

Oh yeah, our newest video will be online this coming Monday. Make sure you check it out.

And, we're already in rehearsals for our next video. It may have to do with an upcoming holiday - which would explain why we're getting together to make hats this weekend. I can't tell you what kind of hats - that would give it away! You'll just have to wait to be impressed by our awesome hat making.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

You Can Conte on LFTI

As you can tell by the title of this post, I’ve either had a stroke or I’m referring to Paolo Conte, incomparable Italian composer, singer and pianist.

The fact that I’ve just made myself giggle as I typed the word “pianist” coupled with the fact that I’m not sure which of those two things is true leads me to favor “stroke.”

Bunny banana hammock bi-quarterly.

Okay. Sorry about that. I just got back from having an MRI. Turns out that I’m fine. No visible signs of stroke. So that’s good. Though I’m uninsured, so once the bill gets here for the MRI, I expect an actual stroke to follow shortly thereafter.

I remain confused about the reasons that I typed “bunny banana hammock bi-quarterly” however. Since it wasn’t stroke-related, it’s possibly a magazine I subscribed to at one time or another.

Probably in college.

All right, having ruled out a stroke, it follows that this post will have something to do with Paolo Conte.

And it does.

When I was writing the music for our first “Lou Short” (more to come!) I decided that what it needed was the exuberant feel, flow and pathos of a Paolo Conte tune. Since I was unable to secure the rights to an actual Paolo Conte tune, I decided that what the short really needed was a cheep knockoff of a Paolo Conte tune. Something that had has the essence of Paolo Conte, without the cost or competence of Paolo Conte.

And here is the end result. Tune that can be heard partially at the end of *subject to change. You can hear it here in its entirety.

Hope you enjoy it:

In Other News:

The embedded played above (the one that you just listened to the “Paolo Conte” tune with…you did listen to it right?) is courtesy of a site called It’s a site where independent artists, unknowns and amateurs (me!) can upload and distribute our music on the internet.

Well, a couple months ago I posted the LFTI theme song; Fine Print. Ourstage has contests that you can participate in and it’s free to enter (and really easy), so I went ahead and submitted the song. Well, it finished in the middle of the pack during the month I submitted it (no surprise since I didn’t promote it…much like this show!). But, for some strange reason, this month it’s reached #8 in the rock competition.

Maybe we can take it to #5 (I’m a realist)!

But I need your help. Listen to the song. Or go through the process of voting at ourstage .com. But the listening numbers definitely help it. I would love your support. Just click on the hyperlinks in this paragraph. The Quarterfinals end August 29th!

Here’s the embedded player again (to make it easier to listen to).


And Speaking of Support!

TV Week is asking people their opinion for the best online web video creators. And we think that LFTI should be included. Why not go to this page and comment? Tell them about LFTI and why you like it! We’re the only full-length original online sitcom left on the web! It’s time the world (or at least TV Week) took notice!

Represent! We Conte on you!

And thank you for your support!

(I just had a flashback to Bartles and Jaymes)