Category Archives: Directing

Production meetings at the Gottesman Video Collective

Production meetings are central to our video-making process at GVC. Without them, many of us we wouldn’t know half as much about video production as we do! These Monday morning meetings are a time to talk about the videos published the previous week, discuss what worked and what didn’t, share tips on how to do better next time, help each other solve problems, and discuss what work needs to be done in the coming week.

Through this process, we learn from each other. Some people started at the lab with more experience than others, and frequently they share their technical expertise. But each of us has learned a little bit simply by working on production, and that also contributes to the group’s shared knowledge. Nick, our equipment manager, performed a number of tests with the cameras which generated some knowledge about how to use them to their best effect. We also periodically work through tutorials on Lynda.com or even on YouTube (which is where we picked up some tips about greenscreening and puppet construction), and bring that information back to the group. Frequently, we find that our high school and college interns teach us as much as we teach each other! Intern Corinne, for example, taught us a lot about color correction, and Reynaldo worked out some neat rotoscoping tricks using AfterEffects.
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Lost Episode – For Teh Lulz, Take 1

We shot For Teh Lulz three times before we had a version we thought was worth airing. Even though it was short, it was incredibly difficult to shoot. Weena’s long monologue had to be captured in a single take. That was hard not only because it’s hard to hold up a puppet for a long time, and because you can’t edit out mistakes easily, but from an acting perspective it takes a lot of careful work to build up drama in a long monologue and keep it from getting flat and boring.
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Production: Adding more characters

In the second-to-last season of the show, we added a handful more regular characters. The Intern showed up more often; we introduced the Monster of Next Week, and we re-introduced Bryan, the show’s only regular human character.

Selling You and Secondary Sexual Characteristics feature Bryan, who originally talked about his job at a TV ratings company in the Product Placement episode. We loved Bryan’s sense of humor — that deep-kiss with Weena in the outtakes was a total surprise! — but the real reason we invited him back had more to do with the balance of the show than with individual jokes.

We thought that if we had one human character, who acted a little like a parent, it would give Erna and Weena more of a chance to be who they were, rather than going out of character to say certain lines just because the plot demanded them. With Bryan around, the girls were free to fight among themselves and just flat-out be “the angry punk” or “the fangirl.” Neither puppet would be burdened with having to give a long explanation by herself, or acting as the voice of reason.

The Intern also freed them up to do this, too; with her around, neither of the sisters would have to be the one who “didn’t get” something about the Internet or advertising. Having one hapless character be a punching bag also makes for some great gags.

And then the Monster of Next Week… well, we just kept him around because we thought he was awesome, and the fans thought so too :) One fan promised (threatened?) to come back to check and ensure the Monster Of Next Week would really be back the next week!

Take a look at some of the earlier episodes. Are there any lines which Erna or Weena say which you don’t think fit their characters, and would have been a better fit for another character? Try editing these episodes. Mix in footage of the Intern or the Monster of the Week with those lines re-recorded by you for that character (or even Bryan, if you don’t mind the dubbing being a little off). Share the re-edited versions with your peers, along with the originals. What do you think the effect is when other characters say the lines instead?