Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Too Dark?

Hey, as I promised…2 weeks ago, it’s time for another special installment of “Really Old Music Wednesday!”

In this chapter, we look at yet another song that I had written, recorded and subsequently discarded for LFTI Episode 1: The Mason Menace.

I should probably preface this by saying that a lot of factors go into choosing music for our episodes… wait, let me correct that. A lot of factors used to go into choosing music for our episodes. Especially the pilot episode.

One thing we were very conscious of was “tone.” We tried to be careful to set the right feel for LFTI. It was the first episode after all, and if you’re not at least careful on the first episode, well, then why are you doing a show anyway?

Nowadays, the music selection process is a bit different. Back in the Episode 1 days, specialty music was…special. Now I tend to write fun music just for the hell of it. Which makes for a lot more variety and fun (and also a lot more recording). But in the early days I wrote a bunch of “sitcom” music. Stings, intros, outtros, etc… all with a similar melodic and harmonic structure, though differing in styles. The plan was to use this music in every episode. That’s why the first and second episodes (which were released at the same time) have the same music. Needless to say, I got bored with that so we started adding more and more music starting in Episode 3.

Anyway, back to this particular tune. It’s called “In The Dark.” At least that’s what I named the file and since I don’t feel like changing it now, that’s the title (deal with it). Again, this song was recorded before I got the new computer and software, so it had a “rough demo” sound to it. But it’s somehow appropriate. It was also written before we actually shot the show (I think. Before it was edited anyway.). And we discarded it because it just didn’t seem to have the right “tone.” It was a bit too raw sounding. A little dark. Very “indie artsy.” Anyway, that was the feeling at the time. Let me know if you disagree, I’d be interested to know if you felt the music we used was a better choice that either of the alternate tunes that we rejected. The other tune is here.

So, without further ado here’s me doing my best “Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen’s Love Child” impression with “In The Dark.”

Yeah, so… that’s that I guess.

It’s quite the contrast from the tune that I’m working on right now. I’d love to give you a preview, but I’m not going to upload part of an unfinished song. Plus, I’d like it to be a surprise!

But I do want to give you a sneak peek. So, for all you piano players out there…

Have fun!

Episode 8 is coming soon!


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Old Music Wednesday


It’s that time again. It’s time for New Music Wednesday!

One small problem though. I have no “new” music to share with you. I will have new music soon, don’t you worry. After Episode 8 is released, I’ll have lots of it! And it’ll be “cool” new music too. Alas, until then you shall have to resign yourself to some old music.

But I’m even running out of that! I was thinking “hey, I could post Dream Girl! It’s a cute song about a man’s love for a puppet that appears to him in his sleep. The LFTI fans might like that!”

And they might.

But I already posted that song. And, really, no one listened to it. But it’s still a good song (IMHO).

Then I thought, “maybe I should post that tune I wrote for Guy’s Boot Camp in Episode 7?! That’s a fun tune.”

Already did that.

“The piano music from the LFTI short Pairing?”

Done did that too.

“Hmmm… I have to beat Steve's last post though! It was cool and behind-the-scenesy and chock-a-block with factadactadilloes! Perhaps it’s time for me to really dig deep into the LFTI archives?”

And that’s what I did. Today I present the first song ever written specifically for an LFTI episode and actually used in an episode. (I wrote “Fine Print” the LFTI Theme earlier, but that was non-specific.) And here it is, a song I titled “Tongue Tied” mashed together with the jingle for Brenda’s Bridal Boutique:

Why don’t I separate those two songs and let you hear the full version of “Tongue Tied” you ask?

Well, because there is no full version of “Tongue Tied.” That’s all I wrote. I wrote it to sound like a full song that gets interrupted by that stupid jingle, but in reality, it was always meant to be that way. It made it easier to combine the two.

If I had written this recently, I would have written an entire song. In fact, someday I may go back and finish a full version of “Tongue Tied.” But who knows? Who has the time for that stuff? I have new music to write!

Okay, it’s a little known fact that the song you just heard, the song we used in the first episode of LFTI isn’t the original song written for that episode. I wrote another song to be used instead. But, ultimately I think I felt that it was a little too… sappy? I don’t know. It just wasn’t right. It was a full song. And that was probably one of the issues I had with it. I couldn’t combine it as easily with the Bridal jingle.

This original song is more about how Mason feels about Jennifer and I wanted to write something that was more about how Mason feels about not being able to talk to Jennifer, his situation and so on. That’s why I went with the one we went with.

But the original song isn’t bad. So, I thought I’d share it with you here! (It’s actually been on the long-neglected LFTI MySpace page forever, but no one ever goes there… including us.) So, without further ado, the unused LFTI tune “I’d Go”:

These songs do have that certain “demo” feel to them, but that’s because they are so old. I wrote and recorded them before we had even shot an episode (if I remember right). I made them on my old PC. Things have been upgraded substantially here at LFTI HQ since then. I love my Mac. I love Apple Computers. Oh, so much. Some might say too much? Nah.

And that’s it! Another Wednesday, another tune.

But I did promise some more sneak peeks of Episode 8, didn’t I? Okay, you win, here are a few more (I already gave you one without your knowledge, because I’m sneaky like that). You might find these sneak peeks handy.

Ha, ha! Get it?! “Handy?!”

Oh my god, I think I’m funny!


Monday, January 12, 2009

Who Wants to Know about the Holiday Video? I Do! I Do!

Well, hello there, stranger! No, you're not the stranger, I am, but still, to me, that makes you the stranger since I haven't seen you in many, many moons. So, I say again, and without hesitation, "Well, hello there, stranger!"

Where have I been? Hmm. Let me answer that as a character on Lost might answer it: "Where do you think I've been?" Good. Now that that's cleared up, I'm here today to get back into the swing of my Monday postings. Not posting makes me feel very guilty, while posting makes me feel creative and useful. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. So here it goes.

Yes, here I go with a post. I will write one now. A post filled with interesting tidbits about our show. Hmm. Yes. Tidbits. Like pineapple tidbits. In their or its own juice, depending on... your... on your grammatical... usage structure.

Okay, so I began this without an idea of what I was going to write. Robb is teasing with teasing teases about our next full episode, so maybe I should talk about our last video. That was our holiday video, though, and who wants to hear about the holidays when they're over? Except Robb?

Well, I shall swallow my post-holiday holiday aversion and tell you some things you may not know about our holiday video. Instead of calling them "factoids" or "factinos," I shall call them "factadactadilloes."

Factadactadillo #1

The holiday video was not originally intended to be sped up as it currently is. No, the reason it's sped up is because we ended up shooting too much footage. In fact, we were worried we would not have enough footage, so during brainstorming, we just kept adding stuff to shoot. We shot 98% of what we set out to shoot, but that left Robb with too much to put in. He left only one thing out, which was something with singing snowmen, and the rest he sped up to fit the song. It was a very, very happy "accident."

Factadactadillo #2

The snowy frame at the opening and closing of the video is cotton batting and paper snowflakes pasted on cardboard (a Mac Pro box, to be exact). We once again wrote ourselves into a conundrum; at the end, we thought it'd be quite funny for Robb to slide the frame back into frame (cinema is so self-referential). The other options were to just cut to a new shot with us all behind the frame, or for the frame to close in on a hinge. But sliding is funnier. So we spent some time constructing an apparatus solely for this purpose. The apparatus consisted of four light stands, three casters, and two closet door sliders, all held together with gaff tape. Getting it to work right was more time-consuming than we expected. No doi!

Factadactadillo #3

There's a blooper built right into the video! When the candy canes on the string of lights fall down, that was entirely unintentional. I think you can tell that by all our "out-of-character" reactions.

Factadactadillo #4

This video was meant to be very quick and simple to shoot. That was our goal. But as you saw in factadactadillo #2, we just luuuu-uuuu-uuuuuv a good challenge. Such good challenging did not stop with the snowy frame. No, we also came up with the little gingerbread Wizard of Oz reference. This meant we needed a spinning house and, if possible, a spinning cow. Cue the lazy susan, the blue screen, and the gingerbread house kit!

As an added bonus, here's a short video of us testing the fully-automated mechanical spin feature.

Corrie did her kung-fu poses in front of that very same blue screen for the attacking cookie shots.

Factadactadillo #5

It's harder than you think to find very tiny, sparkly red shoes. I ended up buying a whole doll just for the shoes, which we then had to hand-paint with sparkly red paint.

Factadactadillo #6

In last year's holiday video, the gingerbread man cookies were cardboard cutouts. This year, to save on time, we used real gingerbread man cookies from a gingerbread man cookie decorating kit. They tasted terrible, but so did the cardboard, so at least we got some realism instead.

Factadactadillo #7

I know a magician never reveals his secrets, but this is movie making, and movie-makers do it all the time on DVD and E!, so I'm going to spoil some magic here for you. The popcorn on a string in the microwave thing was indeed one shot. We put a divider in the bowl so one side could hold the popcorn kernels and spool of thread, and the other could hold the pre-stringed, popped popcorn.

And that, folks, is it! I hope you found that informative and fun. If you didn't, you should have your head examined by a certified clinical holidaycologist. But not a holidayecologist. That's an entirely different branch of the holiday sciences.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy New Year!

Hope you had a great holiday season and New Year. It’s always hard getting back into the swing of things after the break. Time to take down the holiday decorations and get back to work.

Of course, just like when I was in college and used to leave my Christmas tree up until it started to turn to dust, the LFTI Holiday video will probably stay on the front page until July. You know, because we run a classy establishment here. Plus, one never knows how to get rid of Holiday videos, I mean are you supposed to recycle them? Drag them to the local park to be fed into a wood-chipper? Or can you just leave them on the sidewalk and let the garbage truck deal with it…? It’s a hassle, really. So, the front page it is, I suppose.

No, I’m kidding, that won’t happen. And how do I know? Because LFTI Episode 8 will be up way before then!

That’s right! You heard correctly. LFTI Episode 8 is being edited right now as we speak. And if things go well (cross your fingers) it’ll be online before you know it!

I think the biggest challenge will be the music. I have a few “ambitious” ideas. Nothing overly complicated as far as concept goes, but not the usual LFTI fare. Although, the observant viewer would probably note that LFTI hasn’t really had a “consistent overarching musical identity” lately. Which is fine with me, to tell the truth. It’s more fun this way.

Plus if this show had a more homogenized musical distinctiveness, it would be a different show altogether.

Speaking of… let’s talk about the future. What can you expect to see from LFTI Episode 8?

Would you like a sneak peek?


I can’t hear you.

…really. Don’t talk to the screen. You look crazy.

Here are a few screen grabs from the scenes I’ve been editing:

That’s right! I’ve given away Ashleigh’s outfit for the episode!! I’m crazy! But what pants is she wearing?! Wait and you'll see. (Note: if you're British and "pants" means something different to you, then I wouldn't get too excited. I didn't mean it that way... Though if it'll get you to watch...)

Mason is holding something, Lou looks ashamed. Hmm… from such things great dramas spring.

What’s this?! Interesting…

But where’s Guy? Why have I not uploaded a picture of Guy?!

Because I hate him. That’s why.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look into the future. Check back here often because I will be updating the sneak peeks as I edit! It’ll be fun!

In the meantime, why not go and check out the brad spanking new LFTI Facebook page!

Become a fan! It would be rad, sweet, bitchin’ and awesome to the max, like totally!