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French Kitty – Postmortem

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February 10, 2017


Call Me Lucifer -Part Four- Postmortem

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Tuesday, November 30, 2016
I think it’s safe to say Jake and I have a fond interest in musicals. So the idea to make Call Me Lucifer – Part Four a musical was a no-brainer. Burbank seems a perfect place for the town’s ambassador to break out in song at any moment. It also balances nicely against the curmudgeon Puritanical Values Man, whom had just ousted Alec unceremoniously from NoHo in CML3.

Production was originally planned to be split between live on location and green screen. But it just so happens that a tiny camera (the Sony NEX-5r to be exact) and a group of people who function like a well-oiled machine are pretty much your ticket to filming anywhere you like!

And add in the unmistakeable sounds of musical production, you get no guff from passersby or lookie-loos. Once you hit playback on the audio track, all questions are immediately answered. We also felt relatively bulletproof because this was a musical specifically about the very town we were galavanting through.

It was awesome. Filming in the median went hyper-smooth because Jake lives close enough for a few rehearsals inside, a quick walk, and then eight nearly-identical takes in a hectic median.

The IKEA construction site was originally planned to be green screen. We ended up finding a quiet nook right along side, which almost exactly fits where DW would’ve taken Alec to safely show off the construction site. Also fun fact about that new IKEA, it truly is the world’s largest. Oh Burbank…

The brewery exchange was originally slated to be green screen. But we nailed it so fast that we were wrapped before the waitress rounded back asking if everything was “alright.”

In the end, musical production feels to be a less hectic, more structured form of production and the soft spot in my heart for musicals grows ever more.


Side Effects -101- You Think You’re So Smart – Postmortem

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Carl Sagan-Prank Master

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Perhaps the hardest part of making funny that sustains for any stretch of time is the process of building a fence around the idea.

I knew I wanted a sketch comedy series to compliment the other shows under our banner. I knew I wanted to keep The NoHo Rag a character exploration and Call Me Lucifer, for lack of a better word, auteur. But Side Effects, I wanted to be silly.

But silly makes for a shitty fence. Silly is subjective. It’s a way of looking at everything, and everything is just a little too large a concept for a six-episode web series.

Slowly but surely the show began to take shape. It was in development for over a year. It had three different names as the idea gestated. Conversation after conversation exploring and tuning the feeling of the show. Two completely shot and edited sketches were cut from the premiere.

In the end, You Think You’re So Smart is one of my favorite creations to date. And I think it sets the tone quite nicely for the next five episodes to follow.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I’ve found myself discussing Side Effects to folks with the caveat of “I know there’s only one episode out right now.” So I wanted to explain the structure of the series a little. Without any spoilers about future episodes, here’s how I view Side Effects:

We use common social opinion against itself.

So, let’s look at the first episode You Think You’re So Smart to unpack this concept a little.

People love Ted Talks and hold the information within each video as fact, based seemingly only on the visible lettering on the stage behind the speaker. So, we presented an entirely factual monologue on farting.

Complete with cited, factual quotes from some of history’s most important people. Nothing within that speech is incorrect, nothing is false, yet here we are making one big fart joke with the help of James Joyce, Mozart and Benjamin Franklin.

As a palate cleanser, we present the most stupid display of ability in a tuxedo in front of a captive audience. Does this make one-hand clapping art? Can the cloak of perceived cultural intelligence make this idiotic display intelligent?

Then, we revel in the fact that people en masse are awaking to the wonders of the cosmos. Interest in space exploration is becoming chic. Carl Sagan’s popularity is now arguably at its highest ever.

But, what might Carl Sagan have done for fun? What would he consider silly? Well, maybe using his intelligence to prank people. We get around the perception of him being an asshole for pantsing people in the park, or destroying their perceived self-value by placing him in his own universe. Stupid. Yet charmingly effective.

So I guess, that’s Side Effects: Stupid. Yet charmingly effective.


The NoHo Rag -204- Virus Scare Postmortem

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Monday, June 6, 2016
Here’s Blake’s comprehensive redevelopment plan for North Victory!

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Jake drew this and originally planned to ink and color it but we ran out of time. You may see a more fleshed out version of this at some point during the series, so feast your eyes on all the little hidden jokes. There’s a few in here that the fans of the first season will surely notice.


The NoHo Rag -203- Game Night Postmortem

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

If there comes a time when you want to shoot big four-person dialogue heavy scene, plan your shots. This episode really taught me the benefit of planning ahead. We shot the entire game night scene in one night in about three hours. It was a hectic three hours, but it ran incredibly smooth.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The fact that this episode came together the way it did just shows how much a supportive team affects the final product. My god, everyone on screen and behind the scenes crushed this shoot. We shot, I think it was six pages of dialogue and cross-cut heavy content in about three and a half hours.

So while the plan-your-shots recommendation stands, also take a minute to understand the team you have working to build this thing to become much larger than any one involved.

That’s when it’s magic.

That’s when the impossible becomes possible.


The NoHo Rag Season One Prop Photo

Posted by in Behind the Scenes
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For those weary travelers who have enjoyed our season one of The NoHo Rag, Jake, Jessie and I painstakingly set a prop photo from all the things we still have from season one sketches and guests to the show!


The NoHo Rag -202- Off to the Races Postmortem

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BlakeBeer

Saturday, May 14, 2016
This was a fun one. We started pushing the limits of our green screen techniques quite a bit here.

We also created our own Brewery and brand identity with the Cahuenga Valley Brewing Collective.

Monday, June 6, 2016
Off to the Races was a term I’d thrown around as the point in a show’s foundation where you begin to build up. So the groundwork, or ‘heavy lifting’ as I call it, is out of the way.

The characters are introduced and you’ve gotten a taste of each. So Off to the Races meant we could begin bouncing wants against each other. How better to represent this than two characters who will duel each other the entire season as they vie for the comptroller seat?

So when it came time to name this episode, since it crossed the groundwork off the list, the choice was waiting right there for us to pluck.


Call Me Lucifer – Part Three Postmortem

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Monday, June 6, 2016
There was a point when filming Jake walking in the park when I said I could hear Henry Nilsson’s Everybody’s Talkin playing in my head during one of the takes. But then we agreed that the song was too upbeat. So I sat with it and wondered if there was a cover that might fit.

Enter Paolo Nutini. He’s done some selling out, so you’ve probably heard New Shoes. I seem to recall that song trying to sell me something a while back. But, Paolo also does a wonderfully haunting rendition of Everybody’s Talkin.

Now to be fair to NoHo as a city, we shot the best of it. There’s some really cool spots in that town. And you can bet we’re going to continue that trend in Burbank on the upcoming Call Me Lucifer Part Four.


The NoHo Rag -201- Postmortem

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Dane-and-KM

Saturday, May 14, 2016
Man, there was a feeling after releasing Call Me Lucifer Part 2 (CML2) and before releasing The NoHo Rag 201 (TNR 201) where I felt that last shot was a mistake. Leaving just Dane and Kelly Mae’s backsides to the camera as the lingering image was a gamble.

We actually wrote and shot a line between the two but ended up cutting it. But once TNR 201 came out it felt nice and cohesive when viewed back-to-back.

Monday, June 6, 2016
Ah, the pussy cookies. We actually had these cookies on hand for the first season pervy Santa episode but already had the episode planned out. So I threw the box of cookies in a closet and waited a year.

So here is the quick story on how I came to think these cookies look like hairy vaginas:

My mom sends Harry & David baskets for just about any event. Christmas, no different, and these cookies were included in that basket. I’m told these cookies look like walnuts. Sure, fine. Them walnuts also look like vaginas with three-weeks worth of growth.

So by fortuitous luck, we crafted a character like Dane Argyle who ALSO thinks these look like pussy cookies. And lo, half of our season premiere took shape.


So, what do we call this thing?

Posted by in Postmortem

The Development Process
of Call Me Lucifer Parts One & Two

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Since Jake will be playing one of the main news subjects this year, we decided to pull Alec from behind the desk. Instead of a jarring switch on the season two premiere, we figured we’d create a seven-part miniseries to run alongside season two of The NoHo Rag.

This, of course, has led to confusion on what constitutes season two and when exactly it starts (or started). This confusion only got worse after we released two parts of Call Me Lucifer before the season premiere of The NoHo Rag.

From our perspective, it feels entirely worth it to have a small amount of confusion right now, because the Rag is in for a pretty large transformation. Two new anchors. Scenes off-air. We’re basically giving the Rag a Larry Sanders element.

Part One – So, it’s a trailer, right?

AntiAlec-Logo-WHITEbackYeah, Call Me Lucifer – Part One is a trailer. It’s a trailer for season two, while also giving the bulk of exposition and defining narrative element that we need to have the audience understand at the outset: Alec is out at The NoHo Rag.

This is where Call Me Lucifer comes in.

The NoHo Rag will focus primarily on it’s own pressing issues. Alec, on the other hand, is now lost and he needs to find his own way forward. Since both are happening concurrently, we feel it’s best to let this split force each storyline in its own direction, without requiring any ham-fisted scene transitions in any one given episode.

Part Two – Yeah, but is it funny?

CallMeLucifer-PartTwo-TitleCardSince we kept the first part of Call Me Lucifer lighter in tone, it felt time to present Alec with his own vulnerability. To do that, we needed something serious to rock Alec’s understanding of the world and his role in it.

As revealed in part one, Alec was fired. But in part two, we get to feel that event with him. There’s a certain kind of pain inflicted when you realize your work ultimately means nothing. Alec had never had to feel that pain since this news program was passed down through the generations of Reidels, starting with his great grandfather and the old news reels that were shown before movies. Alec was safe to think and say whatever came to mind, until now.

His longtime producer, Bob, loves The NoHo Rag. But Bob is also getting older and the stress of an errant FCC violation is something he’d rather avoid. When Alec decided to give his epic 16-minute rant, he did so without approval or notice. You’ll see throughout the season that Alec laid out a cogent argument against society’s infantile ability to process reality. But, his decision to use nudity grabbed national attention and accrued the show a costly fine, which forced Bob’s hand.

Alec is now hated and silenced. Time for him to get to work.


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