Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ad man

One of the various things I do professionally to pay the bills in between writing blogs about writing TV series that aren't in production is manage the social media and internet marketing for a local cultural institution. Yes, I get paid to tweet. Don't be jealous.

We're about to launch an online video contest, so we needed a kick-off video to get the proceedings underway. The original plan was to do a quick-and-dirty Flip cam video, but it morphed into something else, as these things often do, so today I ended up directing a cast of one and crew of two to create this one-minute masterpiece.

The script was written in about twenty minutes. I've never written a script for a commercial or PSA before, and because the initial plan was to do one shot, one take, I didn't even break it down into standard commercial script style (with scene notes) -- it was basically about 250 words of pithy prose, all of which had to be memorized over the weekend by the star of our video, a PR man with more than a little experience in broadcasting.

However, when I got to the location for the shoot, I realized I wanted to do a little more to make this video visually interesting, and I blocked out three shots we could use to be quick-edited in the final product for an edgier effect. After convincing the accommodating crew (one cameraman and one all-purpose grip) and producer to take on the additional shots, it quickly occurred to me I was directing this thing, something that I hadn't considered prior. I gave tips to the talent for line delivery and blocking. I selected the shots, but let the crew make the technical decisions to do what they knew best. I added a last-minute fourth shot to better balance out the overall video. It went quickly, smoothly and hopefully the outcome will be as engaging as I envisioned when I wrote it.

This wasn't my first time directing a script I wrote, as I think I've mentioned here. There was that one-off disaster of a play in college. But this was something completely different -- a much more cohesive, collaborative fruition of a creative vision (even one done in the name of marketing) -- more like writing a song and working with your band to bring it to life. It's your song, still, but it's the input from the collective whole that makes it a reality. And though no one but me and a few people will know I had anything to do with it, people will see it, and its existence will be documented.

And though it should be no surprise coming from a guy who thoroughly enjoys editing publications and leading bands, I think directing is something I'd love to do. Hmm.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


It's kind of strange that I actually made somewhat of a name as a "blogger" for a while, because I am pretty damn terrible at updating blogs. It's likely the reason I'm currently trying to find the time to redesign my all-inclusive website to take the focus away from its blog. Of course, if I had the time to redesign a site, I'd probably have time to update this blog that no one is reading and, concurrently, work on pitching this damn TV show, which is the reason we're all here, right?

Unfortunately, until said show is a Nielsen success and my showrunner royalties are piling up in my offshore bank account, I still have to do other work somewhat regularly. So I've wrapped up a few comic book projects and have some pending deadlines on a few journalistic assignments. But I haven't forgotten about this blog, or "Being," and as soon as I pull myself out of this pile of distracting -- but necessary -- freelance work, I'll be back to bugging agents and producers and you.