Hello Interwebs! This month has been one of TPM’s busiest ever! I’m excited to share BTS stories from our various projects in this news update.
Up top, I want to begin with a potential new project (which I’m gonna be vague about). Justin recently suggested that our team try to shoot a documentary film. It’d be something small, and relatively local. This, like almost everything I mention in these newsletters will be a long-form project or something which will change altogether by the time its finished. We’ll see. We have nothing concrete to work with yet. But I like the idea of branching out to a new format– sharpen our skills in a different type of storytelling.
TPM aims to continue its monthly sketch releases to YouTube! Though I hope I find the time to produce more. I have so many concepts I’m excited to release! And they just keep coming. I’ve probably brainstormed more sketches this March than I have in YEARS. Ideas bounce through my mind more quickly than ever. My secret: I trained my brain to recognize the humour in life’s mundane moments. Now everything looks like a potential sketch.
Ryan and I shot two more episodes of our Close Up podcast. Funny story: the one above (Episode 2) is actually our third installment. Most people will never realize, but I messed up BADLY on our next episode. ‘Cause I forgot to plug in my freaking microphone! On a podcast of all things! You don’t have to call me an idiot. I’ve beat myself up enough over the mistake…
The audio I recorded was not inaudible, but it was of unacceptable quality for release. So I had two choices: scrap the entire episode, or pour a ridiculous amount of time and effort into fixing the problem. I opted for choice 2 because I’m a perfectionist. I’ll explain more about my process for this chore in the next section.
Suffice it to say these tech difficulties forced me to push back the episode. I’m hoping it’ll release this weekend though!
Last week I filmed Group Therapy for Movie Quoters. Maybe it’s early to make this declaration: but GTfMQ is my favourite sketch I’ve made in my 10 years of making sketch comedies! It turned out better than I expected!
Poker in the Pandemic taught me how to film with myself. But Group Therapy helped me refine that process. Both filming and editing were notably more efficient than the former sketch.
How did I achieve this new efficiency? For one thing: I wore the same shirt for 3/ 4 of my characters. Changing jackets took less time than entire outfits. Secondly: I only used ONE shot where three of me appeared at one time. Two characters were more than enough to manage in one frame! Lastly: I slowed my production pace to ensure I filmed every shot in a set-up before moving my camera. Shifting the camera takes a lot of time. So avoiding mistakes in advance meant less camera movements, which meant a quicker production.
A couple of fun production facts: I actually fell on the floor in that one scene. And I did actually hurt myself… although it was my upper back rather than my arm.
Do you wonder how I did the effect where Paul grabbed Stan’s shoulder? Your first instinct might be that I used a stunt double. Nope. I was the only one in the room. Your second instinct might be that it was some kind of CGI effect on a green screen. Also no. In actuality: I just shifted off camera enough that you couldn’t see my right shoulder, and grabbed my left shoulder with my right hand.
The movie business ain’t always glamorous folks. You gotta get by with what ya got.
I spent a great deal of March fixing Close Up Episode 3 (what should have been Episode 2). The best fix I could think of: dub over every single line I spoke in the recording. The original audio was still audible. It just wasn’t pleasant. So I was able to understand and replicate my voice with a little bit of voice acting.
I have some experience with dubbing. But that work was done many years ago. So I taught myself a superior method to my old ways. In short: I used to dub my voice by matching up to my lips. Now I match the visual representation of the audio waves. If the peaks and valleys and rounded spots of my recordings look the same as my original, then the audio should (in principle) line up to my lips. It’s not a PERFECT process– if only because I’m not going out of my way to make each line spot on– but it’s pretty darn good.
You’ll definitely notice when some lines don’t match up to my lips. But I doubt you’d think the ENTIRETY of my voice was dubbed over (except now you’ll see the flaws more glaringly, because I told you about them).
I’ve already spent 40-50 hours on this process over the last 3 weeks. And I’ve still got another 5-10 left to go. But I am close… Is the work worth my time? Probably not. But I’ll rest better knowing I released a suitable product for your consumption.
Matteo brainstormed more ideas for Tales of Sesom. And that’s about the extent of TPM’s Graphic Novel progress this March.
I’m still chipping away at subtitling our old videos (and the first episodes of Close Up). My process improves all the time! I recently found that my process was harder than necessary. I changed it up. Now I’m getting through the backlog more quickly (when I find the time). But it’s still quite a lot of work.
So apologies to any of our viewers that like or require closed captions… It’s not my intent to make anyone’s lives harder. Truth be told, I’ve just been busy putting out the bare minimum of content to keep TPM running and subtitles have been bumped lower on my list of priorities.
In a similar vein: I’m also sorry to regular readers of Thoughtplane.ca. I generally blew it with the website this month. We promise two articles per week and I’ve released half as much.
I stretched myself thin this March and TPM’s website paid the price (whilst the YouTube channel saw a slight uptick in content). Things’ll either get worse, or I’ll get used to the routine. Hopefully the later. It’ll be easier when I’m not working on 3 episodes of a podcast at once.
This has been TPM’s March news. If you have any questions about what I’ve written today, or have something you’d like to see addressed more in-depth in next month’s update, let me know in the comments. Also, if you have any ideas for future articles, or any general questions, let me know that as well. Be sure to like this article on Facebook and share if you enjoyed!
Till next time