Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Music From the Inside

If you follow us on Twitter, you know that earlier in the week I promised to post a little music from the show. If you follow us on Twitter you would know that. If you don’t follow us on Twitter you’re just now receiving old news. Now, I don’t want to say that you’re out of the loop or anything, I’m just saying…well…maybe you should follow us on Twitter? It’s easy.

But that’s not the point of this post. I just wanted to share a couple tunes from the show with you. Share some tunes and shame you into joining Twitter.

No! I don’t want to shame anyone into joining Twitter! Forget about Twitter!

I’m sorry, I’m in the midst of a minor mental civil war here.

Let’s get to the music.

This is the “Theme Song” for the show. It’s a song I wrote called “Fine Print.” I think that it pretty much sums up Mason’s worldview. In fact, it sums it up so well, that we’ve only ever used it in the trailer! (and as some background music in Episode 1) It’s been written and recorded since forever. We always hoped to make a proper credit sequence and use it for that, but our show is always so long that we’ve never been able to.

(A little inside scoop: I’ve got a little “intro graphic” in the works for the next episode. It’s not a credit sequence, but it’s fancier than the title we use now. And what song accompanies it? ….Not “Fine Print.” Hmmm.)

I know this song has been up for a while on MySpace, but now you can enjoy it here without the threat of sexual predators.

This next tune is one of my all-time favorites. Seriously, I love this tune. I know it’s poor taste to say that about something that I created. But I don’t care. I like it. Plus, I keep forgetting that I made it. Probably because I’m not critical of it at all. I enjoy it independently of myself. If you’ve ever made anything you’re proud of, you can probably understand what I mean. It’s almost like the song wrote itself.

Well, now I’ve got it all built up. You’ll be expecting a lot. Well don’t. It’s just a good little tune. Maybe you shouldn’t even listen to it now. In fact, you know what?! I think the song is crap! It really sucks! It’s terrible!

Okay, I believe that I’ve successfully cancelled out those two paragraphs. I’ve cleansed the palette. Now you can enjoy the tune.

This is called “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Mason.” Yes! Like the short! It’s the theme from our Halloween Special. I was going for a “Peanutsy” Vince Guaraldi-type thing. I think it worked. It incorporates some melodic ideas from “Fine Print.” Though no one thus far has noticed. Even after I’ve pointed it out.

Now you can compare and see for yourself! The “A” section of “ITGP,M” borrows the chorus melody from “Fine Print.” Listen for it! Let me know if you can hear it.

As an added bonus, the tune has a sort of “Autumny” quality to it, which is a nice respite if, like us here in LA, you just went through a horrible heat wave.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little musical side journey through LFTI. I’m off to keep working on the music for Episode 7! There’s some fun music coming! Really. I’m quite happy with it.

Wait for it!

Join Twitter!


Tuesday, April 29, 2008


My uncle, Rod (though you should probably call him Roderick, since you're unrelated), is someone I have not spoken to or seen for decades. Literally decades.

I have sent an e-mail thanking him and connecting again across the vast span of the bridge of the distances of time.

If anyone has a Windows Live/Hotmail/MSN login and would like to leave a comment on his blog thanking him for linking to us, please do. I would not touch such a login with a 20-year pole.

Thanks, uncle!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Well, folks, this will be a "warts and all" post. Because we want everyone to know the trials and tribulations of creating a show, not just the joys and triumphs.

We gathered together Saturday, as Tanya posted we would, to do some re-shoots for Episode 7. It took a couple hours, and we shot some great stuff. However, when it came time to do wild audio (we should talk about wild audio in a future post), we discovered that the camera had been switched to record the audio from the internal mics, not from the boom mics! Needless to say, this meant we got horrible, unusable audio on every take that day.

We will try again next Saturday.

So how does something like that happen? How could we not have noticed that the audio was improperly set?

Well, the real reason is that we are not yet "professionals." I put that in quotes because some of the stuff we do is, we feel, approaching professional-level caliber. However, we do not have the many, many years of experience under our belts that would have had us check, unthinkingly, the audio settings. Nor do we have a professional crew to look after this kind of minutiae for us.

There were definitely signs that should have led us to know something was amiss. I was running camera, and I did notice that the mic level knobs were set evenly. Tanya, who was running boom, asked for the headphone levels to be bumped up quite a bit. The audio level meters on the camera LCD would leap into the red when I was talking, even if the boom was far away. And the video settings had been changed, probably by Adam when he had used the camera to document our latest publicity photo shoot.

Normally, since we use a handheld boom in one mic input and a camera-mounted boom in the other, the mic level knobs are set differently. Tanya asking for the headphone level boost means something was not set the same as it usually is. If the levels read my voice even if the handheld boom is nowhere near me, it means the in-camera mics are picking me up. Duh! And, another big duh, if the video settings had been changed, that means the audio settings might have been changed as well.

These details are a huge 20/20 hindsight thing. None of the clues clued me in. As for Tanya, she is not a boom operator for a living, so while there might have been clues to the audio not working right, she might not have noticed them or they might not have been enough to clue her in, similar to the clues I missed.

It is incredibly exasperating when something like this happens. You feel both angry and stupid. Tempers run high. But what is always important to remember is that we will never let that happen again. That is what we in the sub-"professional" industry call a "learning process."

This is not the first technological snafu on Episode 7... I had somehow changed a camera setting while we were prepping to shoot the Jennifer with Batteries shots. (You'll know what that is soon enough!) I ended up shooting the rest of the day's scenes in 4x3 instead of our usual 4x3 anamorphic (that jargon is also a topic for another post). How I did not notice it in the viewfinder is beyond me because 4x3/anamorphic mix-ups are one of my peeves at work—our editor comes to me to check footage for 4x3 vs. anamorphic! On the set that day, however, there were lots of things to worry about, so maybe I was simply distracted. But you can believe that I now check the camera every time to make sure it is always on the correct setting! So it shall now be for sound.

No matter how good you get at shooting a show or a movie, there is always a learning process lurking in the shadows. Or out in full-view. We just hope to eventually get beyond the technically destructive learning processes and keep experimenting with the creative learning processes, the ones that can hopefully make our show better and better with each shoot.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I've been spending tonight trying to get the apartment ready for some re-shoots tomorrow. Luckily I don't have to do any serious cleaning, just straightening up and clearing my stuff away from anywhere we will be shooting.

That's definitely one of the downsides of shooting in an apartment where I am not supposed to live. I have to "disappear" every time we shoot - mostly this means clearing my coats off the coat rack and putting any clutter away. But overall it means almost all of my personal photos and such now lived in a cardboard box in the closet.

Tomorrow should go quickly, we only have a few lines to ADR and two scenes to re-shoot. In this case "re shoot" really means "shooting some more dialogue to make the scene even funnier".

Luckily it will just be the main cast here tomorrow, so it will go quickly and it will be pretty dang fun. That's the upside to working with friends on a project like this.

Almost makes up for my stuff living in the closet.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Episode 7 Sneak Peek!

Hey! Robb here, with a sneak peek of LFTI Episode 7!

Now, I haven’t gotten Tanya and Steve’s permission to do this, so I’m going to have to type fast (though I don’t really know why). And you’re going to have to read it twice as fast (though that shouldn’t be a problem considering that I type incredibly slow)!

Below, I have posted EXCLUSIVE screen shots from the next episode of Life From The Inside! “But, Robb!” you ask “how did you gain access to such guarded treasures?! Did you have to break into LFTI headquarters?! Or, do you have a secret informant working ‘on the inside’?”

Well, that is an incredibly stupid question. It’s a good thing that I invented that entire exchange and you didn’t actually ask it.

But I have been staring at the episode for a few weeks now as I’ve been editing it and I’ve been dying to show somebody! That’s when the idea hit me… you’re “somebody.” Why not show it to you?

Why not indeed.

Here it is. The world EXCLUSIVE peek at LFTI Episode 7 (I’d spill the title here, but I honestly can’t remember what we decided to call it… needless to say, whichever title we settled on will have an asterisk before it. It will also be some kind of disclaimer and deliciously apropos)!


There you have it! I hope I didn’t give too much away.

Now there may be some of you out there who think that I’m being deliberately and annoyingly coy about all this. To you I say, maybe I’m not? Perhaps I’ve represented the episode to its fullest? Maybe we shot it this way? How do you know? And frankly, I don’t like your hypothetical tone! Episode 7 could be the trippiest sitcom you’ve ever seen!

Then again, I could just be being deliberately and annoyingly coy.

Watch episode 7!


Monday, April 21, 2008

In Good Hands

Hello. Steve here. As the newest but oldest producer on the show, I know I am a bit of an unknown quantity. To quell any rumblings regarding my qualification to produce high-quality, hilarious episodes of Life from the Inside, I have decided that my first weekly post to the LFTI blog will be an enlightening, though drastic truncation, of my curriculum vitae. A curriculum vitae, or "CV" for short, is actually a résumé, but fancy people, like me, prefer to call it a CV so that I may claim to be fancy people.

1969: Born in a small town in central Colorado to a set of six socially conservative parents.

1970: Begin preschool early to get a jump on my studies.

1982: Make my first home movie with my friend Sven. The 8mm black-and-white silent film is a 46-minute staging of the epic poem, "Hortense and the Crusted Tide," by Montgomery Woolworth Sears (1746-). Ran camera and played Mr. Sir Trundle, the Untoward Ecclesiastic.

1984: Miss the Macintosh ad during the Super Bowl. Don't actually see it until 1988.

1987: Graduate Magnum cum Magma from Arvada Northwest Regional Preparatory School and Ersatz Military Academy with a pre-degree in Film Emulsion Chemistry and Elastodynamic Theory.

1988: Finish a year at Stanford, not realizing they had not accepted me in the first place. My brother Milton had "misplaced" the rejection letter as some kind of prank. Dumbshit.

1990: Create Tilted Equator Productions at Boston Collegiate University with four colleagues. Make six short films and two features during our first semester. One of these features, The Weeping Game, goes on to win accolades worldwide for its emotional portrayal of a woman whose tear ducts are sealed by a Lasik accident and who is therefore unable to cry for her dying sister, thus leading to the downfall of the Sino-Prussian Empire.

1991: Graduate from BCU with Super Über Magnum cum Magnanimous honors. Give all proceeds to the Hurry Up and Make a Wish Already, Will You? You Haven't Got Much Time! Foundation.

1993: With leftover chums from Tilted Equator, shoot the first-ever 34-part online independent mini-series, An Oratory for All Humanity. Transfered from U-matic to ASCII animation using a proprietary technique I invented on weekends during college, Oratory was meant for distribution on the soon-to-launch Prodigy dial-up service. The series never saw the light of day, however, and even now remains a subject I'd rather not discuss, much less bring up in a CV such as this.

1994: Move to Los Angeles. Learn there is indeed such a thing as bumper-to-bumper traffic at 10:30pm.

2006: Lose all records and files from 1994–2006 in a mutant silverfish infestation. Forgot everything I may have done during those years.

2007: Begin work on Life from the Inside.

2008: Complete my first official posting for the LFTI blog.

I hope this modest listing helps me to earn your trust and assures you that the future of Life from the Inside is in good feet. Hands! Oops. Crap.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Production Tip

When you have the brilliant idea of having your cast members climb under a table/through a doorway, pay attention to the fact that some of your cast may be too tall to fit comfortably under your table.

Joe (aka "Tall Cop" from Episode 6) was very understanding, even though he got stuck at least once and scraped his knee several times.

Also, make sure you cast awesome people (Like JOE!) who won't freak out when they realize they are really too tall to fit under your table, but will keep trying anyway.

Take after take after take.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

We've Gone Viral

Viral on Veoh, that is.

Yes, Sunny and her intrepid co-producer Josh made the dangerous trek to the LFTI set in order to interview us. Apart from having a great time, we managed to get some info out about the show.

Thanks for spreading the word, Sunny!

Check it out!

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