Archive for March, 2014
For the record, I only clicked the “go pro” button because my son made me.
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OMG how am I only now finding out that Lily has a new film!!! I don’t even care what it is, I’m so excited to see her face again. It looks like some sort of Edgar Allan Poe Biopic? IDK. And she’s acting opposite JAMES PORTER! (CAN HIS FACE JUST STOP ALREADY?!?) Is it too much to hope for another swoony kiss and face smooshing again? Preferably in the rain. Preferably with James shirtless.
Probably. But that won’t stop me from hoping.
I know we’re not supposed to ship real people, but this makes, what, foiur times they’ve played romantic leads? FOUR TIMES. There’s got to be something there, you know? (Hint: It’s red hot chemistry).
They’ve got to be dating! They’ve just GOT TO BE. The world just wouldn’t be that cruel. And they’re so adorable together on screen I just can’t believe that it wouldn’t just carry over into real life.
Ugh when can I pre-order my tickets already!
*brb going to watch THAT SCENE from Anne of Green Gables five hundred times*
Hahahahaha. Bless this fandom and their meta-shipping.
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On my hike today, I saw a garter snake and this fellow, which means spring is finally here, which also means I need to put some bells on my hiking shoes to avoid startling any mama bears and their cubs.
That’s an awesome shot of a Pileated Woodpecker in the first one, but I’m not sure what’s happening in the second one. But still: awesome!
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I stared at this a very long time trying to spot where the loop resets.
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I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love—
I and my Annabel Lee—
With a love that the wingèd seraphs of
Heaven Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me—
Yes!—that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we—
Of many far wiser than we—
And neither the angels in
Nor the demons down under the sea
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea—
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
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Firstly thank you! I have recently showed my friends A Tell Tale Vlog and Kissing in the Rain (Anne and Gilbert caused a lot of fan-girling). We love it :) Secondly, what bits of advice would you give someone thinking of adapting a literary work into vlogs?Monday, March 31st, 2014
Thanks so much for spreading the shipwreckedcomedy love and thanks for the question! I’m flattered you’re asking for my input on the subject. I’m sure berniesu and inkingideas would have more to say, as their directing work is more focused in literary vlog adaptations at the moment. But since you asked, here are my thoughts on adapting literary work into vlogs/webisodes, with pictures to keep the commentary interesting!
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries made me first fall in love with literary vlog adaptations, but I have to credit periodsfilms for showing me there’s more than one way to vlog a literary adaptation with their Lil Women microseries. (Fun fact, their creators
who I’ve never met hello also hail from my alma mater, Carnegie Mellon. Which has no film school, go figure.)
I really loved the way Periods Films used improv actors and the juxtaposition of modern language with period costumes, so I stole that element of their series for A Tell Tale Vlog. I also loved Mary Kate Wiles in LBD and the spin-off Lydia vlogs, so I stole her for our next series. I guess the takeaway here is to watch as many things as you can, and then steal your favorite parts.
Casting well is key – I love love love working with actors who have strong improv backgrounds, because it makes directing them an adventure and an exercise in the hardest lesson for writer/directors to learn, letting go of your own words to see what you can create with the other awesome people on your team.
Another thing I find important when casting actors is finding someone who can bring a character’s flaws and quirks to life without making them a total caricature, which can be pretty difficult. I think that’s what made me first notice marykatewiles in LBD, that her version of Lydia was at once hilarious and dimensional, something I’d never seen in a P&P adaptation before. Mary Kate is also fantastic at listening to her co-stars and playing off of their performances, which is kind of a rare quality to find in an actor (it really shouldn’t be.)
seanpersaud is similarly brilliant at portraying awkward male leads with unexpected dimensions, and finding new ways to do it every time (very helpful, since I only seem to write male leads of the awkward variety.) Sean is also a phenomenal improviser, and so many of the best lines from Kissing in the Rain and A Tell Tale Vlog can be attributed to something he came up with in the moment. sineadpersaud is also a fantastic improv actress and writer, and pretty terrific singer to boot, so there must be something in the water in that family.
I’d also say as a filmmaker, to always be conscious of what’s in frame and what that says about your characters. Production designers are great, but even when I don’t have one on hand, I usually try to make sure everything in the picture makes sense for the characters.
We like our production design at shipwreckedcomedy to be a little more heightened than production design for the real world in general, but Jen (my wonderful production designer) and I do always try to keep things from seeming “placed” – that is, a prop or set piece that calls attention to itself in frame, in a way that doesn’t make any sense with the characters or story. I don’t mind having statement set pieces like Poe’s massive portrait of himself in A Tell Tale Vlog, I just want to be sure they make sense in the picture.
I have no picture for this next one, but sound is important. Audience members can’t always tell when you’ve lit a scene imperfectly or if there was a camera jitter, but if your sound is bad then even my mom will bring it up when she calls to talk about the latest episode. Invest in basic sound rentals if you can – if you can’t, then try and get a camera with decent on-board sound and enhance it in post.
With regards to cameras, always go for good lighting/experienced cinematographers over just a fancy expensive camera package. A little light will do wonders, and onthewallnow can talk about that much more intelligently than me. Color correction in post is also a thing that can help, and something people forget about too often. Color profiles can define and completely change the look/tone of your video, so your job to pay attention to everything you see in your picture doesn’t end after you finish shooting.
Speaking of post-production, I favor fast edits and short episodes. There are so many great lines that I’ve cut from A Tell Tale Vlog/A Tell Tale Birthday and unused takes of Kissing in the Rain, mostly because funny doesn’t always service the story as well as fast, and if you have too many punchlines/one-liners, it can get a little indulgent. I’d always rather leave the audience wanting more than run the risk of overstaying our welcome. Same goes for editing kissing scenes, incidentally.
With literary adaptation specifically, I try to keep the essence of the characters in mind without staying too married to the source material. It frees up the actors to make their own creative choices, and it also keeps me from worrying that I’m trying and likely failing to live up to the many adaptations that have come before me.
You’d have to ask rachelkiley or berniesu or inkingideas about their thoughts on adapting longer-form source material, since my own literary adaptations have all been fairly episodically contained so far. (I have commitment issues, though I’d take the plunge for the right project, given the right resources.) From what I can tell, long-form adaptation is a tricky thing to pull off and great writing is essential (as it always is.)
And finally, transmedia! That’s a fun new vocab word and it does fascinate me. What I think is so so so inherently cool about this corner of the internet is that there’s an audience that’s willing to go the extra mile and engage in real life with these universes we create, long after the videos end. pemberleydigital and eyrequotes have done a great job with using social media to add another dimension to their characters. We have a pretty small transmedia team at shipwreckedcomedy (read: I am our transmedia team, with assistance from emilyhopebunny on fan-canon summaries), so we do things a bit differently. We used our official Shipwrecked Comedy twitter/tumblr/youtube comments to respond in-character during the run of A Tell Tale Vlog, but that didn’t feel like the right route for our characters in Kissing in the Rain.
But that’s the great thing about having a fanbase this engaged and social media that’s so brand new – there’s more than one way to transmedia. Hence, the Kissing in the Rain Fan-Canon Tumblr Experiment, which has so far exceeded my expectations in so so many ways, I can’t even. It’s given us the opportunity to expand the KitR story universe in ways that wouldn’t have ever been possible in video form, and it’s given us a way to collaborate with our audience in a way that actively plays with the power and talent of fandom. Anyone who hasn’t yet explored our experiment in transmedia should consider checking out this rad post by belovedcreation, which is pretty helpful and cool and I like it.
That’s about all the advice I feel qualified to give at this point, so I hope it’s been helpful and thanks again for asking! Keep watching and commenting, I love hearing from you! As always, if any other questions come up, my ask box is open and I also answer quick questions on Twitter.
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Created by Yulin Kuang
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Lily enjoys table reads.
It reminds her a little of her college drama school days, sitting in a room and just playing with the script – no hair and makeup required, no complicated lighting setups to wait on. She likes it most when it’s with a familiar cast and crew, it’s like the first day classes after a long break. It’s her third project with this team and by now the producers will have made sure to include a sizeable section of gluten-free options at the crafty table.
This is giraffe-tacular.
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