Production Blog 2: Halloween Special

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Since we won’t be filming the next half of the special until the weekend, I decided to begin cutting the footage we’ve already shot. I always find an insane amount of joy in watching the raw footage back while editing, it’s one of the more enjoyable phases of the process.

Although, even basking in this glorious almost-Autumn weather hasn’t been enough to rescue me from feeling a bit distraught. The excitement of Halloween has not yet fully hit me yet because this mammoth undertaking IS A LOT OF DAMN WORK!

I blame myself.

Honestly – writing, “acting,” filming, and editing are aspects I certainly adore, but they’re all a free-time leech, and prove to be a major distraction from being able to fully enjoy the early part of the Halloween season. By time the season is in full swing, I’m beat up from lack of sleep because I’ve been editing for weeks and staying up until 2am and then waking up at 5am for work. When Halloween is over, I look back and have no idea where it all went. One of these days I just want to sit back and take it all in. Maybe I’ll start recording the special in the spring time? Nah. It just wouldn’t feel right.

Like so many of you, Halloween inspires me. The span of September 1st all the way until October’s big 3-1 is one huge overload on my brain. I can’t even reign in all the ideas I have, nor could I possibly ever execute all the trips, blog posts, and videos that I have on deck. There’s just not enough time, especially when one is biting off more than he can chew with a full time job, trying to blog, AND creating a Halloween special for YouTube.

I’m sure there were many people out there who probably watched our last two specials and got nauseated, but I am not here to beat them into submission and staple their eyelids open to watch our ridiculous YouTube video. I’m appreciative and happy about those out there who genuinely enjoy them and plainly see in them the obvious outpouring of love that I have for Halloween, horror films, and pop culture in general. All 3 of those things have literally consumed my entire life, and so has making videos.

For those of you who read blogs in our circles and elsewhere and see the term “labor of love,” well, I can tell you for damn sure that that is a real thing.

A crazy expensive professional video camera was first placed in my hand when I was 8 or 9 years old…in the ’80s. This thing was GIGANTIC and HEAVY. Seeing a similar reference on The Goldbergs last season was surreal. I’m sure there were others who felt the same way, but I said to myself “Holy shit, that was me!” Hauling around what felt like a 90 pound video camera on my shoulders interviewing family members, recording backyard wrestling events, and acting out movie scenes was common content found on a blank VHS tape at our house. That stuff never stopped, it just evolved. Next it was 8-millimeter, digital cams, and transitioning from old school editing on decks to editing right on the computer, it’s been a long journey.

So, to bring that all together, what I’m saying is, as wacky as our videos might be, they actually represent the culmination of many years of passion for horror, comedy, screenwriting, editing, and amateur filmmaking.

Enough of this schmaltzy B.S! Onto the actual production update!

As I mentioned in the first production update, I enjoy the editing process immensely. While the rest of my productions are usually created in a slightly haphazard way, the editing is very methodical.

For only the first half of scenes, we had over 90 minutes of footage. That’s deceiving though, because a large chunk of this is raw footage for the intro credits. To clue you in, I’ve dwindled this all down to 28 minutes, but we have another 2-3 days of filming left. My hope is never make these specials longer than 15 minutes, but it’s a major challenge to tell a story properly in such a quick amount of time. I’m hoping this special will be in the range of 15-20 minutes max. If it’s more, I’m going to get cranky. Since this is our 3rd special, I owe it to myself to not rush the story and make it the best it can be. Who knows, maybe it will be the best one we’ve done so far. What I can tell you is that we have some super special cameos that are really icing on the cake.

I can also add that for every tense moment during filming there’s about 5 or 6 that make us all laugh and prohibit us from continuing for a few minutes. This type of absurdity has already given us about 5 minutes of outtakes that I really wanted to weave in during the credits, but we shall see how long the film itself is. If the run time is already 20 minutes, I’m going to have to make a separate outtake reel and upload that on it’s own.

Another thing I’ve noticed as I look back on this footage is that I am certainly not Stanley Kubrick, but I just wind up acting like him when we’re making these specials. During filming I have no idea that I become a total dick, but it’s like I’m possessed. I think I said “let’s do it one more time,” about 67 times in the first half of footage. Plus that makes editing that much more grueling because for a 3 word sentence I’ll have 43 takes filmed. Talk about driving myself mad!

I’m hoping to have all the filming in the can by Monday, save for a few little bits of the intro and a few other very minor details. Once I load that footage in, I’ll begin the second phase of editing. Time-wise we seem to be pretty much on target. Thanks for reading and come back again soon to track our progress!

Production Blog 1: Halloween Special 2014

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You might be wondering how I could have the audacity to start a Halloween countdown and then not post a damn thing for a week? Trust me, there’s a good reason, and it’s well worth it!

Thanks for baring with me folks. We’re about halfway into production of The Sexy Armpit Halloween Special 2014! This is our 3rd Halloween special and to make it even remotely entertaining (and I use that term loosely) we have to put a lot of thought and actual hard work into it. Since I’ve had to turn my attention away from the Halloween countdown in favor of our annual Halloween video extravaganza, I figured, why not present you some inside info about it right here on the blog?

Although I consider the content of these specials to be a complete farce, I still infuse them with the utmost care and attention to detail. Ahh yes, details…that’s where Mike (@IdiotAtPlay) comes in. He’s always our continuity expert. Of course, we’ll still have one or two minor flubs in that department, but it’s no fault of his. This is multiple levels below even a Troma level of production, so keep that in mind. A few pumpkin beers and everything’s thrown out the window!

As I mentioned, we’re about halfway through filming and things are going well. The second half of filming will continue later this month, and that will contain more arduous scenes in terms of dialogue, props, and “scenery.” While I enjoy the process of directing and “acting,” they are my least favorite part of all this.

Having gone through so many film and acting classes, it became apparent to me over the years that I gain the most enjoyment out of two facets of the filmmaking process. I have an affinity for scriptwriting, but editing is my strong suit and it’s what I have the most passion for. So, I’m definitely anxious to start editing. Matter of fact, I may begin loading the footage we’ve already shot and dive right in to get a jump on things.

As for a premiere date, unfortunately, it’s still too early to tell, but I’ll be announcing one soon. Once we get the rest of the filming is complete, I’ll have a better idea of when it will hit the YouTubes. It will obviously be sometime in October. Typically, I aim for early to mid-month, so stay tuned!

SUMMER KICKOFF 2014!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1aHRP1NW84]

Watch the 2014 Summer Kickoff Show with The Sexy Armpit and Idiot at Play. It’s filled with nonsense, and a few good ideas of how you can enhance your summer experience. Plus, summer reading recommendations including Last Exit in New Jersey, Exit Zero, and The Non-Linear Flow of the Universal Tides by Michael Gary Wirth. Music by Lipstick & Cigarettes, Lux Devil, and Kevin McLeod.

Ms. Marvel #1 – Review by Mike Wirth a.k.a @IdiotAtPlay

I’m going to refrain from getting into my preference for DC over Marvel. Not avoiding it for any other reason that I would never argue that one is better than the other because I feel that neither side is better overall. Yes, Marvel may be putting out better, more lucrative movies and they have a more strategic long term vision for their product, oh, and they’re now owned by DISNEY. But with all those words that I just typed – all I really need to type in defense of DC is one word. BATMAN. So let’s not fight, OK? Moving on…

Mike Wirth, my friend of nearly 20 years, and co-everything on The Sexy Armpit show, has a badass blog of his own called Idiot At Play. If you haven’t visited it, I recommend clicking over there because he’s been banging out posts like a crazy person. Much like you see here at The Sexy Armpit, Mike reviews comics, movies, TV shows, and random events. Somewhere in all of that he finds the time to write actual books, like his first novel The Non-Linear Flow of the Universal Tides which you can buy basically wherever books are sold. I have the utmost respect for a guy who can write a blog, help me film YouTube videos with a sludge puppet, and write books, all while working full time. Dude makes me proud and ashamed of myself at the same time.

Back to the subject at hand. After I read about the new Ms.Marvel operating in New Jersey I had a few people e-mail and tweet me about it to see if I was aware of it. I was, but it never hurts to bring it to my attention again since stuff in my brain has a limited shelf life nowadays! Mike was the first to tweet me about it and although he thought it might be a good story for The Sexy Armpit, I always looked at him as my go-to Marvel Comics expert. Originally I wanted him to do a guest post on here, but he’s got a blog of his own so it makes much more sense for you to click over to the link below and read all about the new Ms. Marvel who hails from Jersey City:

*Is it me or does the Ms. Marvel cover remind you a little bit of the cover of Supergirl #1 from 1996?