Monday, June 23, 2008

The Following Conversation Never Took Place

The headline is true. The following conversation between the three producers of LFTI never really did take place. Our actual conversations on this topic were much less colorful and interesting, though the real solution is probably going to be more viable and humorful.

* * * * * *

"Okay, so Kate will not be a regular part of the show anymore. What do we do?"

"I say we add a new character to replace her."

"I agree."

"Really? I don't think so. It's been done to death."


"Isn't that the 'sit' part of 'sitcom'?"


"I agree."

"So if we don't replace Kate with a new character, do we just leave the cast at four characters?"

"That's a bit unbalanced. We need a fifth character to—"


"—Yes, non-character to create the 5-person imb—"


"—Yes, non-person to... imbalance... what was I saying?"

"Probably something about cake."

"No, I get it. We need a 5th... something in Kate's place. But what? An animal? We could add an animal to the cast."

"Like a shark? Yeah, we could put a shark in the cast, then the other characters can all spend the next episode jumping it."

"If you don't like the animal idea, just say so."

"I don't like the animal idea."

"Yeah, me neither. Could it be some kind of super-sentient, non-corporeal being?"

"What, like in Star Trek or something?"

"Er... Yeah. Er... No."



"Inanimate, then."

"Probably. Not much choice left if they can't be human or animal or non-corporeal."

"Okay, so an inanimate object. Sounds cool. Unique. I don't think this has ever been done."

"Vegetable or mineral?"


"I don't know. No one likes vegetables."

"I love vegetables! Some of them, anyway."

"It could be a tree. That's vegetable without being a vegetable."

"Oh. Right."

"No, we don't have to stick with such rigid boundaries! There are many things that are neither vegetable nor mineral! Like an awning."

"I think that would fall under mineral."


"Technically. If its not animalistic or vegetablistic, it falls under mineral."

"Missiles are ballistic."

"Ha! Ha ha. Ha."

"Okay, well, whether it's a mineral or ballistic or not, I think we need to find something that would fit into the situation. You know, the 'sit' of 'sitcom.'"

"Fit in like in the apartment?"


"The keyboard! That fits in perfectly, both in the apartment and situation-wise."

"It does kinda work..."

"Except the keyboard has been in every episode already, but has not been called out. It needs to be something new."

"Yeah. Maybe... the sofa? No, also been there."

"Not the new sofa."

"Oh, yeah! The new sofa!"

"Shhhhhh! Don't give that away! It's a major plot point for #8!"

"Sorry. Should I delete my tweet about it?"

"I did that already."


"It can't be the sofa. I think it should be something portable, and something we haven't seen before."

"Yeah, we don't want two characters—"


"We don't want two non-characters who can't leave the apartment."

"You mean we don't want one character and one non-character who can't leave the apartment."

"What, as they say, ever."

"Let's focus."

"A book. A lamp."

"A pencil. A bottle. A toiletry."

"A Christmas ornament. A bag of peas. A phone number."

"Isn't a phone number non-corporeal?"

"Not if it's written down."

"A hat. A shoe. A pair of socks. A dirndl."

"Shorts. Jeans. Underwear."

"Oh, all of that stuff!"

"Clothes! Mason's clothes!"

"Oh, yeah! A pile of Mason's clothes! Think of all the symbolism that could bring!"

"And the irony."

"And the marketing options."

"This is great."

"I think we can do this."

"So it's settled. We'll replace Kate with a pile of Masons clothes..."

"They should be clean."

"...with a pile of Mason's clean clothes..."

"In a laundry basket."

"...with a pile of Mason's clean clothes in a laundry basket."

"This is exciting!"

"I can't wait 'til our fans see this!

"I can say for certain that there are no MASSIVE FAILURES in our future!"

Friday, June 20, 2008

A (Not-Quite) Goodbye

"Three's Company" replaced Chrissy with Cindy, "Wings" replaced Lowell with Bud, "Mystery Science Theater 3000" replaced Joel with Mike.

And now...

"Life From the Inside" is going to have to replace Kate.

We are very heartbroken to announce that Kathy has decided to leave the show. While we are going to miss her terribly, we know that this was a difficult and carefully considered decision.

Rest assured, we have no intentions of killing Kate off. We decided long ago that no one in the LFTI world is ever completely gone from the show as we never know when we're going to need a specific character in order to tell a story. So, while Kate will be gone, she will not be "departed". Also, killing one of your main characters on a sitcom is never a good way to get laughs. Unless we decide to turn this into some sort of zombie sitcom.

Zombie sitcom - that could be funny. Robb, write that idea down on a 3x5 card!

Now we embark on the journey of figuring out how to bring in a new character, knowing we are not going to just bring in a new actor and try to pass them off as Kate either (although I did once suggest we try that with the cheesy soap opera thing of announcing "the part of Kate will now be played by so and so" - but apparently I am the only person who finds this absolutely, oddly hysterical).

Nope, we decided that Kate is Kate and we're just going to have to find someone - or something - else to fill the void that Kathy is leaving.

Ideas we've already tossed around include a robot, a magic genie and David Spade. Yes, I realize he's already on "Rules of Engagement" but as soon as the producers realize the only funny people on the show are Patrick Warburton and Megyn Pryce, Mr. Spade will be looking for work. Again.

But I digress.

We are very sad to lose Kathy as part of LFTI. She is and always will be one of the three creators and developers of the show. A little bit of her heart and soul will still be in every episode we make.

And we will miss her.

Although, if she's anything like Joel Hodgson, she will enjoy amazing success touring the country with her new prop comedy show!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Longer Just a Blip on Blip

We have been featured on! Hooray for us! We have been placed on the front page. In fact, if you go to right now you’ll see…that we’re not on the front page anymore.

But that’s fine. The fact of the matter is that we were there once! Yesterday in fact. Here’s a screen grab for proof.

Sure, you’re thinking, “he could’ve Photoshopped that! Big deal! I have a picture of myself with my arm around Ghandi! That doesn’t mean that I met Ghandi or even know who Ghandi is!”

Again, what’s with your suspicious attitude? Have I ever given you reason to distrust me? And why would you have taken the time to Photoshop yourself into a picture with Ghandi if you don’t know who he is? That seems strange to me. No, I’m not judging you. I’m just saying that it doesn’t make much sense.

And yet, you’re the one who is questioning me? Maybe you should tend to your own house, friend.

Anyway, I’d like to thank Eric over at Blip for his support. And kudos to Tanya for playing publicist on this one. She rocks.

I’ve been wanting to get Blip’s attention for a while. Blip is seriously one of the best video hosting sites on the web. It’s even won awards for it. And it’s not just a big popularity contest on there. In fact, you don’t really know how popular shows on Blip are since they don’t let you see other people’s stats. And I like that. Not that we have bad stats. Our stats are good. But I don’t like the fact that stats can influence people’s taste and trends. I personally believe that the quality of a video should be more influential than a video’s popularity.

We’ve been on there for a long time. But that doesn’t mean that they had any idea that we existed. It’s the whole “if a tree falls in the forest…” thing. If an Internet sitcom is on the Internet but nobody see it, does it make a sound?

The answer is, “yes.” A lot of sounds. As the sound editor for the sitcom, I can tell you that it makes about 30-40 man-hours worth of sound. Horrible, horrible sound.

Was that an awkward transition?

I guess my point is that you should listen to some sounds from the show. Musical sounds to be exact. How about the Kate and Guy Theme from Episode 6? Sure, why not!

I was going for a sort of “duet” quality with this one. Piano and vibraphone. Hope you like it!

And thanks again,!

And if you want to see our show on, go here!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I’m Gonna’ Stick a Boot in Yo Camp!

A boot camp without a military-style march is a little like having a poodle give your graduation commencement speech; a lot of barking with no motivation.

Though, now that I think of it, a poodle would have been great at my high school graduation ceremony. At least then I’d remember who the hell my high school graduation speaker was. As for my University graduation ceremony, they could have had a poodle as commencement speaker for all I know. I didn’t attend. Why should I? No dog orators.

You know, the more I think about this, the more ridiculous it seems to me. I mean we would never have had a poodle speak at my high school graduation. It wouldn’t have made sense. We were the Bulldogs. We would have had a bulldog speaker. But that would have been even more problematic considering how close the mic would have had to be. And bulldogs do a lot more snorting and drooling than they do barking (they have respiratory problems due to all the inbreeding), so the mic would’ve gotten covered in slime and dog saliva becoming a potential electrocution hazard.

Bulldog speaker at high school graduation = cool. Electrocuted bulldog speaker at high school graduation = smelly.

Okay, you may think that I’ve gone off on a tangent, but it is graduation season. A time to inspire!

And I was inspired to write a march for Guy’s Boot Camp in Episode 7.

See? It all makes total sense now, doesn’t it?

With the Boot Camp March, like I said, I was going for a military-style march. A John Phillip Sousa affair. While I don’t think that I really captured the essence of Sousa, I think I captured the essence of sounding like a march. It feels more British to me than traditionally American (á la Sousa). But what do I know? I’m not an expert on international military march styles.

Perhaps you are? Why not take a listen and tell me.

Listen to this song while doing your own boot campy workout!

Use it to brighten up that boring, unmotivated housework!

Play it at your graduation ceremony instead of Pomp and Circumstance! There’s too much circumstance at graduations now anyway! And I guarantee that it won’t spook the poodle!


Monday, June 9, 2008

Graphical Fakery

If I write this quickly, I can still make my Monday posting deadline! I should be in bed, but blogs come first.

Now that you've seen the final part of Episode 7 (hopefully several times so our YouTube count can go sky high), I can reveal the following graphical items. Since Robb only has two hands, I took on some of the designing duties for numero 7. Here, then, are my contributions.

You can click on any of the pics below to see them larger.

If I were to go chronologically—and I am going to go chronologically—the first graphic up would be the batteries. Yes, believe it or not, those batteries had fake labels! You never know when something's going to get a decent close-up, so you just have to design things as if they will.

The "copper top" color on this label looks way off, but that's 'cause I had to adjust it for printing. I never can get the hang of color calibration.

Then came those obnoxious customers on their Bluetooth headsets. We wanted to put a capper on their obnoxiousness, so we came up with the credit card idea. Ah, but which credit card should it be? Why, the American Express Black card, a card so exclusive, no one even knows if they really, truly exist! Well, that's not true. They do exist. But I'll never see one in person, that's for sure.

To be sure the card was not 100% AMEX, I decided to reverse the letters, in keeping with the palindrome/reversal theme of the episode. Since we never heard the name of the obnoxious customers, I was free to name him anything I wanted. Oh, and make him a lot, lot older than he actually was.

Next up, the ABSRD flyer. The goal with this was to make it look like Jennifer had whipped it up herself in a few minutes. I took the party invite Corrie had done herself for Episode 1 and tried to simulate her handwriting. As it is, I think it looks like a guy trying to get his writing to look like a girl's writing.

The hardest thing to do on the flyer, aside from making the panels fit properly between the folds, was the drawing of the little dog chasing the Frisbee into the grain thresher. My drawing skills have atrophied over the years, so this took some warming up to get it right. I wanted the thresher to be evil-looking, like no living being could survive a run-in with the thing. Then there was the doggie. Was this really Stumbles, or did Jennifer draw a different dog because the memories were still too painful?

Now we come to final and most exciting item on this graphical tour!

I know. Right. That took me, like, three minutes. But even this hat design has a back story. See, I figured that Guy, after buying everything else for his boot camp, realized that he needed a hat. So he dashed into a mall to one of those make-your-own-hat kiosks. Sadly, in his hurried state, he could not remember how to spell "sergeant." Of course, the poor girl getting paid $2.36 an hour couldn't spell it, either, so this was the result.

And lookie there! Just under the wire! My post is on time!, Well, I hope you enjoyed Episode 7. See you real soon!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Out With the Old (Couch)

It's Friday, which means it's my turn to blog. You would think I would be better at remembering this, being the person who suggested we each take a day as our designated blogging day, but alas, I am not.

What usually happens is that I get to work on Friday and I think "I need to blog today." And then the rest of the day happens and it's suddenly 6 o'clock and I think "I forgot to blog today. I'll do it tonight when I get home."

And I don't. I fully place the blame on "Dr. Who" and Netflix.

But, not today! Today I remember to blog! Because I actually have something to write about.

There are big changes happening to some of the "set pieces" (also known as my living room) around here at LFTI.

Unfortunately, our couch has shuffled off this mortal coil and is no longer with us. Here it is, patiently waiting to be picked up and taken away to wherever couches go to "rest". (Please ignore the vacuum cleaner that is on the sofa. That has also gone to "rest". Well, it got a lot of rest at our place because it was not a good vacuum so we kind of stopped vacuuming very much with it. I know.).

I had hugely mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I was very happy to get rid of that couch. I mean, the frame was broken and it was a large couch that didn't provide a lot of seating area.

But, on the other hand, that couch was the first piece of furniture Robb and I purchased together. And, it was overall a good couch. It was comfortable, it hid dirt really well, and it was lightweight so it was easy to move around the apartment as needed.

Hours after the old couch was carted away, a new one was delivered. Here's a sneak peak...

I hate to say it, but I LOVE the new couch. It's really comfortable. It's smaller and yet there is more room to sit. But it is MUCH heavier than our old couch. It's also twice as expensive. Do they price couches by the pound?

I'm sorry, you want to see the the new couch in it's entirety? Well, you will just have to watch our next episode! Yes, I am that mean! I said it was a sneak peak, didn't I?!

The night before the old couch was removed, I told Robb we should take some photos of it. He laughed at me and reminded me "We have 7 Episodes of a show and promotional photographs that include that couch. I don't think we'll forget it."

And we won't.

Goodbye old couch

I leave you with a photo of the couch being hauled away. Robb has nicely protected the identity of the movers...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lemonade Anyone?

We’re back over 1000 subscribers on YouTube!

We’re almost back to where we were before the “Great Subscriber Hurricane of Aught 8.” The storm that swept through YouTube wiping away any and all subscribers who weren’t firmly nailed down. Total virtual carnage. I would say it was a tragedy, but that would be…well…dumb.

But we’re happy to be back to 1000+ subscribers! A special thanks to YouTube for the feature on the entertainment page! As always, it’s been a great help to our little show and we appreciate it so very much.

Let’s move on shall we? Every time I praise YouTube, no matter how sincere I am (and I am sincere, they rock), I feel a little like I’m praising our new alien overlords or something. Kowtowing so that I don’t get sent to work in the virtual spice mines.

We can talk “Lemonade.” I capitalized that word because I’m not talking about the beverage, I’m talking about the tune from Episode 7.

What?! Did you really think this was going to be a post where I didn't subject you to more music?! Come on, you knew it was coming. You had to. Don’t be so naïve. Don’t act like this doesn’t happen almost every Wednesday! Unless you’ve never read this blog before…

In which case, welcome! Please excuse my earlier rudeness. This is the LFTI blog where I share music from the show with you, the interested reader (and listener). It’s highly fascinating and pleasing and not at all tedious.

If you aren’t new to the show, then stop laughing! It’s not tedious! Stop saying that! Can’t you be respectful to the new person? Why do we always have to fight in front of company?!

Sorry about that.

Let me tell you a little something about the song that I’ve aptly titled “Lemonade,” from Episode 7.

I was kind of going for a Leon Redbone type thing (never heard Leon Redbone? I’ll bet you have, even if you didn’t know it. Check him out, he’s great). Some may ask “why do you emulate so many other styles of music instead of just trying to solidify a musical identity for the show?” Okay, no one has ever asked that question yet, but they could. And I would say that I feel like the musical emulations are the musical identity of the show. Plus it’s fun for me. And in this case, I wanted to make it sound like we’d found a tune that was already written and placed it in the show because it was so apropos!

Enjoy Lemonade!

Apologies to Leon.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Type Thats, Great!

When Tanya and Robb brought me on board as producer for LFTI, they probably did not realize they were gaining a lunatic. Not just any lunatic, of course, but a font, typography, and typesetting lunatic.

I've always been fascinated by text. I spent lots of time as a small child trying to draw perfect block letters. I'd take the plastic, all-caps letters (yellow Futura medium) from both our copies of The Alphabet Game and tape them onto construction paper to make signs. I cut out matching letters and numbers from the newspaper to make my own Iran Hostage Crisis count-up sign. I hand-lettered every single one of my campaign posters for Vice President in 8th grade and President in 11th. One of the best things about the Mac when it came out was, for me, that its handling of text was much better than Print Shop on the IIe.

My love for type has never diminished. It served me well post-college, when I worked as a book designer at Birkhäuser Boston, right through to the present day, when I get to contribute to the "online conversation" regarding the fonts candidates use for their campaign materials.

Unfortunately for Robb and Tanya, it currently serves me well on Life from the Inside.

I am of the opinion that text, fonts, typography, and typesetting, while flying under the radar of the general public's awareness, are some of the single most important elements in adding a sheen of professionalism and style to any project. Most of the quality we strive for in LFTI is applied to the usual concerns: camerawork, writing, editing, music... Very few people might notice if a font is improperly stretched, or if a wayward apostrophe has made its way into an pluralized acronym, or if the hyphens in a block of text are disconcerting to the eye though they may be properly placed.

Robb does 99% of the graphic work for the show, including all the titles, credits, graphic elements, DVD menus (yes, DVD MENUS!), blahdee blahdee blah. And I have to say that 99% of everything he does, text-wise, is fantastically great. Unfortunately, now that I have wedged myself into the picture, I'm here to catch the remaining 1%. If I see some kerning I don't like, I'll say so. If the leading between two lines is too tight, I'll point it out. If there's a space between a word and an asterisk, I'll call for its death. If four fonts are being used where two will suffice, I shall champion the cause.

Sometimes, where text is involved, there's a trade-off between correctness and aesthetics. To me, correctness should win out most of the time, because there is usually an aesthetically pleasing way to correctly render an awkward block of text.

If I'm going to prattle on about this topic, I really should give an example.

Robb had designed a bit of text on an upcoming DVD menu (yes, UPCOMING DVD MENU!) to fit nicely into a rectangular space. The work "jukebox" (yes, JUKEBOX!) had to be split, so he designed it as "JUKE" on the fist line and "-BOX" on the second. Now, the text fit beautifully, four characters on both top and bottom, but I could not stand the hyphen being tied to the second half of the word. That is simply not done. It gave me a case of the frownies every time I saw it. Since I am now tweaking and redesigning that particular DVD menu, I changed the layout to "JUKE-" and "BOX." It made the text top-heavy, but it was correct. However, knowing that I was changing a very particular design choice that Robb had made, I thought I could compromise. I was willing to—GASP!—have the word split, but not hyphenated! "JUKE" and "BOX" would fit more nicely into that rectangle without a hyphen. Perhaps to some, this would have been the worst choice out of the three, splitting a single word into two sans hyphen. To me, I'd rather have the hyphen gone than have it on the bottom. And jukebox was probably two words at one time, anyway. It's not like we were splitting "grottos" into "GROT" and "TOS." Blech!

I have not finished the menu redesign, but I think we agreed to keep the hyphen on the top, probably because I whined enough about it.

So what does all this pain-in-the-assery get us? From my point of view, it gets us closer to looking great. When no detail goes unnoticed, when we can concentrate on the small things that most people simply don't understand or don't even notice, we can give everyone a better show. Then, if people do know and do pay attention, they will hopefully appreciate the care that was taken to make LFTI a top-notch piece of time-wasting entertainment!