The Story Behind The Scenes
Original posting date: September 28th 2007
This one’s earliest roots are from a conversation my friendIan and I had one day while walking to class at Douglas College, before I had made any videos. I can’t remember which one, as Ian and I shared quite a few over the course of our going there. Anyway, we’re walking up that damned hill, and this girl was struggling to keep her loose-fitting pants up. Well, one thing led to another, and soon we’re sniggering away about the benefits of belts.
Fast forward to a bit after I finished the Psych 4. After the fun Dan and I had with “Brain Damage”, we resolved to do another National Super Heroes Guild educational movie. I started writing the script to “Belts”, but got a bit of writer’s block half way through and abandoned it for a few months.
Then came the wedding. I was brainstorming ideas for the reception videos, and I knew this was the time to finish the script to “Belts” and shoot it. The end came very easily by this point, and as I was rereading what I had written months before, I was laughing at some of the ridiculous dialogue (“Is that you Satan?”)
“Belts” was filmed at the same time as the non-educational short “Elimination!” and as such, I’d be carrying both scripts with me at the same time. For example, as we were filming the outdoor competition scenes in “Elimination!” we squeezed in the Ug-Ka scene from the park. It’s in this scene that Christal and Julie, who were there the whole time entertaining Andrew at some points, make their only appearance. Initially, the two “hot chicks” were to be Julie and Jessica Brown, as I thought it’d be funny to have two blondes come on to Doug at that scene, and I needed Jessica for the unshot “Why Doug Doesn’t Have A Date For The Reception” video. Things didn’t turn out that way, but I was able to get the equally hot Christal instead.
For Nate’s shot as Skooy, he was initially supposed to be crushed under a fallen tree. I had originally written for these segments to be shot in Central Park, and therefore knew where to find a couple fallen trees. But we couldn’t find any in Minoru, so had Nate be collapsed under a bush. We had to be fast though, as Nate was yowling that spiders were crawling all over him.
At the theatre, when we filmed the dance/catwalk scenes for “Elimination!”, we also filmed the Dr. Hazermaveth scene. I had meant to bring the lab coat that Jessica owned, but I was unable to find it. I didn’t figure it’d be a huge issue until we got to the theatre and set up for the scene…and I realized it was pretty crucial. There was only one thing I could think of, so I booked it to the pharmacy in the mall and asked a friend who worked there if they had any lab coats. The only thing she had was a pharmacy tech shirt…and that’s what we used. That is correct: Ian is wearing a pharmacy shirt that is clearly too small for him. Take a good look, you can see the label on the shirt. We also slapped on some safety goggles, and Ian was good to go.
Ian Note: By this point, I had no faith in Ian’s ability to read scripts or memorize lines. So since I wrote this part with Ian in mind, I just wrote in a bunch of meaningless jibberjabber, throwing in non-sensical technical terms, because I was expecting him to improvise his way through it. Well, after I returned from the pharmacy, there’s Ian sitting on the couch memorizing the script word for word. I must commend Ian as the monologue makes no sense and must have been insanely difficult to commit to memory. Watch the video and his spiel is exactly what I wrote. I also tossed some toys and misc. items on the table and told Ian to try to use them in some way. I have this image in my mind of Ian holding up a Wavebird controller and a spatula, and saying “Um…how?” and me telling him to go at it.
The narration scenes were filmed in Andrew’s room, and one of the scenes didn’t pan out 100% due to logistical reasons. The scene where Jimmy’s hands are tied and I have a staff was written with the sight gag of Jimmy being hung upside down. When we were going through the script, the question of “how would we do that?” was presented, so the gag is half developed.
The two fellas dancing in sepia in the parking lot are a couple friends from church, Joel and Brian. When we filmed the last scene in “Elimination!”, we hooked the Bains into just doing the little dance. Doug had the music in mind and it worked beautifully. Thanks to Hot Hot Heat. Jessica pointed out that from her viewing, it appeared that with those two cars in the background, Joel and Brian had driven to an abandoned parking lot just to do that dance.
The last scene was last to be shot. Our friend Jasmin came over to be Mr. Thallus the teacher, and I initially was going to film in the high school. But apparently they were closed or something (what a bunch of losers), so Jasmin came up with the idea that we would find him digging through the trash. On our first take, Dan approachs him and says “Mr. Thallus I’m back” and Jasmin, laughing turns to me and says “Sorry, Thallus?” I guess just getting the joke right there. We had a good chuckle. The scene was originally written to have Jasmin claim his irrationality, then Dr. Hazermaveth pop in and ask if he was still on. But Ian was working or something (jerk), and instead we had Jasmin jump around and dash off. If you notice an odd musical accompaniment to the last line, that’s a glitch from when I was transfering the videos off the Mac and back on to the camera.
We never aired this at the reception, and it’s only been viewed on YouTube. So there’s not too much I can say. Jessica didn’t like the Dr. Hazermaveth scene, claiming it went on too long. I liked it for the monologue and the direct satirical link to old educational videos where the viewer goes to the factory/lab and sees firsthand how x is made/done. But I saw what she was saying as there wasn’t enough visually going on, so I took it as a lesson.
Um…that’s the only criticism I can think of at this time. At this point though, Dan and I were definitely keen to keep this series going. Both times we had learned lessons and felt like trying some more things. A couple monts later, late November maybe, I suggested to Daniel a tutorial on “How To Hunt A Santa Claus” but I’ll finish that story later.