Monday, May 19, 2008

Viewer's Guide: Episode 7, Part 1

Episode 7 is here, at long last! I was so excited all weekend knowing today was the day to unleash our latest creation upon a (mostly) unsuspecting universe!

If you are reading this, you are probably not part of that unsuspecting universe. You have already watched part 1 over and over, and think you're going to die with anticipation waiting for next week, when part 2 comes out. I know I feel the same way when, after eating a particularly yummy meal at a nice restaurant, I have to await the arrival of the separate dessert menu. With a separate dessert menu, the choices are kept secret throughout the meal until this moment. Will there be cake? What kind of cake will it be? Will it be chocolate? Flourless? Seven-layer? Dainty?

In the hopes of making the week pass quickly for our most avid and, some say, rabid fans (that is an unsubstantiated rumor), I am presenting a handy Viewer's Guide to Episode 7, Part 1. I hope the following tidbits will provide an expanded and enlightening enhancement to your part-1-watching pleasure.

If for some reason you are reading this and have not watched Episode 7, Part 1, you may want to do so first. There are aggravating spoilers below!

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Episode 7, Part 1

The red vest was originally going to have four arm holes... Yes, Guy is wearing a seeing eye dog's vest. Alas, we ran short of time, so there are only two arm holes. This also explains the gaffer's tape trim instead of a sewed hem. The vest was added to the show to create one very specific visual joke, which was later cut. I can divulge no more until after part 2.

Lemon-Tyme was supposed to be called Aspar-Tyme, which Corrie came up with, but Robb forgot when he sat down to make the label. We had no tyme to change it.

The Lemon-Tyme label looks more Lyme-Tyme-colored because the ink jet printer ran out of yellow the night before the shoot. 7-Eleven does not carry that particular brand and model of ink cartridge.

Peach cobbler does contain lemon juice. At least in some recipes. Maybe not all recipes. Who knows for sure?

Can you spot the beet-flavored batch of lemonade?

Guy's Chococat bracelet is missing! Or is it...?

The lemonade powder is mostly sugar. No, I mean... yes, I know that's normally what lemonade powder is, but our concoction is mostly granulated sugar with a bit of real lemonade powder for color. And yes, Tanya had to drink a little bit of that during each take.

At the very first read-through, it was apparent that I could not pronounce "Worcestershire" correctly. It became a guaranteed laugh during all read-throughs and rehearsals. How do I do in the show?

Say, is that a new title sequence? Why, yes it is! Robb came up with it one afternoon while simultaneously balancing sound levels, correcting color, writing music, taking online traffic school, and applying for the In-Home Peace Corps.

Though you can't see them, the batteries have fake labels as well. I made those myself. The batteries are PowerTrip brand. I'll post the label itself here in a few weeks.

Jennifer's slo-mo close-up was accidentally shot in 4x3 instead of our usual 16x9 anamorphic. The accident carried through the rest of the day's shooting, causing us to have to re-shoot a whole scene. You can read a bit about that here. The Jennifer stuff was okay to use since she had to look soft-focus anyway.

Our shooting style has evolved a lot since Episode 1, but Robb had some very specific ideas on what to do beginning with this episode. We shot scenes farther away, with a longer focal length, and we tried to "dirty the frame" with foreground objects. This adds a nice depth as well as, ironically, instilling a but of agoraphobic claustrophobia.

The original line was, "Do babies wear many hats?" I liked that one better, but Robb liked, "Do babies wear a lot of hats?" Both are funny, but we each had our own ideas on which one was funnier. This kind of nit-picking of minutiae is what helps us craft a better show. It also is making us all prematurely grey.

The lemonade stand was, of course, modeled after Lucy Van Pelt's psychiatry booth. We made this one ourselves using plywood, 2x2s, and lauan. It had to be sturdy enough to support people sitting on it as well as— well, I can say no more until after part 2.

Our goal was to have short chairs and a slightly taller booth so that we all looked like bored little kids sitting behind the stand.

Why is the lettering on the stand so... so... NOT amateurish? Well, because Robb's a perfectionist. But it was easy to sell in this way: Jennifer is lousy at maintenance, but she's much better with lettering signs. (Her signs in Episode 6 were hurried, you see, so they do not reflect her usual sign-making skill.)

The original script did not have a Babies in Hats parade, but we loved the "Do babies wear many/a lot of hats?" line so much that we decided to actually show babies in hats. A simple idea, a lot of work to pull off.

The baby hats were meant to be as ridiculous as possible, but of course the toddlers were not at all in love with wearing them, so they got simplified on shoot day. The only one who didn't care so much was the true baby in the group, Declan; he was unfazed by my gaf-taping Styrofoam balls to his little blue beanie.

Kathy came up with the spitting the lemonade back into the glass while we were on set. As you can see, it added another dimension to Mason's gulping, which was in the original script. (The footage you see here, however, was part of the 4x3/16x9 snafu reshoot.)

Can you sing "Dog no poop on God" to the music under this Kate/Mason scene? I'll bet you can! Give it a try.

The line, "When he reverses them and tries to sell them, his jingles will be just as flat and uninspired as mine" is left over from Mason's second plan. In the original script, Mason was going to also have a set of jingles he re-transcribed backwards, so Dixon could steal them and reverse them in to Mason's jingles. But one plan was enough. The palindromes were perfect.

There's a very good reason we chose to use a red file folder for Mason's stealable jingles... Bonus points for anyone who can guess why.

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Thank you for trudging through this handy and intriguing Viewer's Guide. I might do another one next week... or I might not! That's the fun of low-budget projects like this. We are not working for da man, so da man can't make me do this ever again.

1 comment:

lac582 said...

Do I smell LFTI "pop-up video" DVD extras?