group videos

We finished the 2011 race last night, and it was a fine experience!  We stuck with it for the 24 hours and came up with a video that everyone is proud of. First-timer Ray Johnson joined Jason Smith, Kevin Collins, Marilyn Jolly and me for a smaller group this year. (Guerrilla division)

The required elements were:

  • Theme – “A Day to Remember”
  • Prop – a ball
  • Location – a garden
  • Line of dialogue – “We can do that tomorrow.”
  • Here’s the result:

    The script-writing process was a group effort that took us several hours.   We settled on the basic idea pretty easily, and the process was relatively smooth.  We took another several hours recording the dialogue, and went out to shoot the video at 12 or 1.  Jason directed the action, and several of us got to shoot the garden beauty shots. My first time to shoot with the 5D – it was a lot of fun.  Back to  home base for lunch break, but not for long – lots of post work to do.  We may be the only team this year with custom watercolor paintings – Marilyn and Ray provided the art that you see in the credits.  Jason not only gave life to the science film graphics (few if any science films were ever actually that cool), but contributed the voice of the smartest mayfly guy in the world.

    Thanks, team members, for another successful year – looking forward to the screenings this week.

    for extra credit – Mayflies in Toledo, Pt. 1

    2nd place award

    2nd place award

    We received the Hollywood 2nd place award at the finals May 24, 2010 (video below). Here’s our lovely glass award. Very nice.

    Mr. Magentahead and Jason
    Our post magician Jason with his little friend – taken after the awards at the IHOP – birthplace of many Video Race concepts.

    Video of the Hollywood category awards

    We had a great time at this year’s race, and in the end we had a video that we’re very happy with.
    First, the requirements:

  • Theme – “Acceptance”
  • Prop – a cell phone
  • Location- the front of a fast food restaurant
  • Dialogue- “Is that all there is?”
  • In the team’s history since 2001, we’ve often had repeat team members from year to year, but we’ve never had exactly the same team. Up until just before the race, it looked like we might repeat the team roster from last year, but it didn’t turn out that way. Kevin from last year’s team couldn’t make it, and we were down to five.

    Now the synchronicity begins. Days before the race, Scott had talked about the event to his friend Diana. When it turned out we were short a person, he called her and left a message, asking if she would be interested in joining the team at the last minute. While we were in line at the Angelika waiting to sign in and get our badges before the race, Diana happens to walk up to Scott and say hello. She and her friend Sherry happened to be leaving a movie there. We all met and described the situation. Diana and Sherry sign on, on the spot. Both the rookies have art talents and made solid contributions to the video.

    It took several hours to create and refine our idea. We had lots of discussion, disagreements, changes, re-writes, and re-considerations. It was not easy, but we all stuck with it, and eventually we had a plan we liked.

    The group had met a couple of times since the last race, and we had collected short videos and films with styles, techniques, and subjects that we liked (see below on this blog), and we had come prepared to try animation as our technique. Paper and foam cutouts, collaged pictures, scissors, glue, still photos, Photoshop and After Effects. Scott and Tina voiced the characters, and Marilyn used her art talents and her fast-food squawk-box voice ( I didn’t know she could do that). Paul made sound effects with his mouth and worked on audio and video. Jason took the parts and pieces and combined them beautifully. His art direction, humor, and technical ability are the best.

    All the team members multi-tasked and really kept it moving. There were times early on when I didn’t know whether or not we could finish, but the pace picked up and we had plenty of time. Thanks to Tina for keeping it all very organized.

    A Day in the Life:

    Update 5/18/2010 – Just got back from the first day of screenings – we’re in the finals. Good to see all our team members again and we received some nice compliments on “A Day in the Life”. More finalists chosen on Thursday and awards on Monday.

    edit: Wednesday, June 3 – Tough and close competition in our category – but we left the finals with a 1st place trophy – one of two.  It was a lot of fun to get the recognition with the team of first-timers that did such a good job. Nice ending to a good experience all round.

    The 2009 race has come and gone!  It was a tiring process as always, but we’re all very pleased with the video this year. The requirements were:

    • Theme: misunderstanding
    • Line of dialogue: “The one on the left”
    • Prop: an edible fruit or vegetable
    • Location: a street or traffic sign

    The team was nearly all first-timers:

    • Darcy and Kevin Collins
    • Jason Smith
    • Tina and Scott Weinert
    • And Paul and Marilyn – For once Marilyn wasn’t in the middle of the end of finals at school and could join the fray.

    We wrestled with ideas and combinations/variations on ideas for 4 or 5 hours.  It wasn’t easy, and we considered several paths, but in the end we arrived at a plan that everyone contributed to, truly came from our personal aesthetics, and the result fits into the Brownian Motion catalog of works just fine.  Whatever uncertainty I might have had about so many first-time racers on the team was all gone by this point. Coming up with the plan has always been a big hurdle for the team, and I was very happy with our efforts this year.  Ours was a true team effort, and got us off to a great start.

    So now all that remained was to take our table full of index cards, the little pictures in our heads, and all the gear in our car trunks and make it happen.  Jason, not surprisingly, was a rock and churned out scene after scene with his top-quality motion graphics enhancement. His speed and sense of style are the best. Tina’s production experience was a huge advantage and kept the whole thing on track. She and Scott went out and shot the location scenes all over the place, and didn’t get kicked out anywhere they went.  When the call went out for cut-out models of boxers and briefs, Marilyn was there and didn’t bat an eye. She also kept the team going with great food and is a fantastic Jill-of-all-trades.  And when Scott is pulling in 6 figures with his future voice-over career, we can say we knew him when.  Kevin provided voice-over and video and stills photography – in fact we all sat in the voice-over chair.  Darcy brought Brendan in, who gave a totally convincing performance as a baby in diapers. This will be the first time his work will be screened at the Angelika.

    Looking back, the remarkable thing (and I think this is the basic appeal of the 24-hour race) is that ours was an amazing group effort. Whether in the conceptual work, shooting indoors or out, setting up for the down-shoot titles, music, VO, stills, or post, everyone took the tools we brought or had at hand, and got busy doing what needed to be done.

    I’ve felt it before – the calculation in the back of the mind that is saying “hey, we’re really doing ok on time, maybe we’ll not be racing back to hand in the tape at the last minute”.  This is usually followed in a few hours  by the other thought in the back of the head “Oh crap, we don’t have time to get this done – what’s going to be the emergency plan?”

    I had the latter for a little while Saturday afternoon. We had got a lot done, but still had lots of holes in the timeline, and I could picture running out of time. I was stressed about this because I liked the plan so well and I hated to picture handing the video in without time to polish it and make it right.  But the team was in high gear and it seemed to me that in just 2-3 hours I was feeling a little ahead again.  In the end we did have time to get the video to a place that I think is more polished than any of our videos has been. I was surprised and pleased that we didn’t have to abandon getting the music track under. I had been afraid that would have to be left out. Jason even custom made the mac/windows scene to match a hit in the music track.  We handed our flash drive over at 10:19.

    We haven’t got to the screening or judging stage yet, but however that works out, I rate this year as a big success.  Thank you team!  You’re a great bunch of creative and capable people. It’s a great pleasure to work with you!    -pj

    Some of the earlier entries are at:

    I’m sure funnier to us than those who weren’t there, but so it goes….

    We had a harmonic convergence over the weekend. The 2008 roster shrank to 6 in the lead-up to the race:

    • Jan Baxter
    • Phil Carpenter
    • Corey Gossett
    • Paul Jolly
    • Derek Nugent
    • Soyla Santos

    And we needed all of us. Every one gave a great effort and we squeezed in under the wire at 11:57. We’re all pleased with the video and had a great time making it.

    The requirements were:

    • Theme: Twist of Fate
    • Prop: a key
    • Location: someplace where sports are played
    • Line of dialog: “What’s this going to cost me?”

    It boggles the mind how many small things had to go right to succeed in making this video. I’m very impressed with the skills and generosity of this great group of people.

    To the team members who couldn’t be with us, enjoy and we hope to see you soon.

    I don’t know when the screening of “Twiist of Fate” will be, but the website says it will be posted here.