Saturday, November 25, 2006

What if God was one of us?

When I set out to do this project, I didn't really have an answer. There were questions I was interested in and those answers came from the crowd, from the people on the streets. I still don't know if the answers satisfied the questions, but that's the whole point, right? This video was done in San Francisco. What if we shot it in Dallas, Texas? What about some village in Africa? How would the people in those cities react?

I casted Carl Collins because he was a fearless actor and an imposing figure. When Carl walks down the street, you can't miss him. So the fact that "Jesus" is 6'5 and 300lbs, we can throw out the excuse that you didn't see him. I don't know if I succeeded. As a filmmaker, especially a beginning one, you try new things and experience with ideas that really are beyond least for me. That's one of the most interesting aspects of film and story. It's a crash and burn theory of working. The only negative is that your failures are there for all to see.

The most credit, if any, should be given to Carl Collins - the fearless actor who played Jesus Christ. One - for playing Jesus Christ and two - for putting himself in such a position as to improv with the public and endure their skepticism and negative responses. He knew what the majority of the public will perceive him as and he still donned the costume and did it. That's commitment.

Thanks for watching.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The good old In-Out In-Out

"The good old in-out in-out" is a line from "A Clockwork Orange". The music accompanying the footage is Faithless's "Insomnia". This was my final project for an editing 1 class. Editing 1 was the first editing class I took in film school.

I had so much fun with "Something about Mary running around with Sue" that I wanted to revisit the music video genre. The other option was cutting with Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" but that piece of music runs around 9 minutes long. It would've taken me a month and all I had was two weeks.

The great thing about watching your own work is realizing how much time it took and the utter disbelief that you actually did it. This was my last major editing project. I love editing but not a big fan of 10 hour days in the editing room. It's not much different than writing but way too taxing on the body and mind.

Hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Something about Mary running around with Sue

There's something about the golden oldies. "Runaround Sue" is one of those songs that can be re-mixed for today's audience. It's a very catchy song with great lyrics and a beat that's hard to ignore. This video was edited around the time that "Something about Mary" first came out on DVD. I was taking an editing class, tape to tape, which if you don't know, means we edited on a Sony Tape to Tape deck with linear editing.

The assignment was to make a music video with found footage. Which was nice cause I didn't have enough of my own footage to cut a music video. I loved the song before I started editing and not so much now. Not that I hate the song, no, it's still one of my favorites. But it took me around 30 hours to do all the edits and hearing the song over and over again. I don't know. Once you've heard a song over 500 times, I think, that's it. No more.

Regardless, I still love this video. Hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween versus Aliens

Two of my favorite movies in the horror and sci-fi genre. Halloween is a movie anyone can watch and appreciate the genius of John Carpenter. Even if you don't understand a lick of English, scary is scary.

Aliens is my favorite out of the Aliens franchise. James Cameron knows action above all else. Watch True Lies, Terminator 1 and 2 and Aliens and you cannot argue with the fact that Cameron's work stands far higher than any action director. He might not be the best but he's one of the best.

I edited the two films together for a editing class back in film school. The point of the project was to edit the movies together to make one coherent short. I had to cheat a little and used footage from Halloween 2 and 3.

Hope you enjoy it. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Olaf's House of Shoes

The actor , Quinn Carlson, who plays the shoe salesman Olaf is a Russian language major at UC Santa Barbara and loves everything Russian. So we wanted to do something about persistent salesmen that don't really understand a thing you're saying. Olaf will pretty much do anything to sell you a pair of shoes. Even make up a story about the shoes being his mother's.

Did anyone noticed the bottle of vodka in the left corner? Actual fact about Russian drinking habits. If there's 3 people at a's okay to drink and you must have at least 1 bottle of vodka on the table. If there's less than're seen as alcoholics if you're drinking.

I love the line," We don't even have a ball, there's a guy on the sideline that decides if ball goes in." Cracks me up every time.

Olaf: Quinn Carlson
Customer: Jeremy Davis

Friday, October 20, 2006

On the Street...with Hughie "Chopper" Ferguson

Asians for Asians on Television doesn't exist. We made it up. Hughie "Chopper" Ferguson doesn't exist either, but if you look closer he could be the son of Will Ferrel's character in Anchorman.

Jeremy Davis does another fine job in taking a bare-bones character and making him real. It would've been nicer if we were actually on location at CBS studios but I don't think we could've gotten the permit. Who am I kidding, we didn't even try but it would've been nice.

I'm told that Charlie Cheng, who played the President of AFAOT, really meant what he said during his interview with Ferguson. I'm not sure if they really let Asian women work on the railroads?

Hughie "Chopper" Ferguson: Jeremy Davis
Chik Leung Cheng: Charlie Cheng

Directed by Mark Katz
Written by Charlie Cheng and Jeremy Davis

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Southern Film Review - episode 1

This is my favorite skirt out of all the ones we did on the three camera stage set-up. If you've never acted and never improv, then you can't really appreciate what Quinn Carlson and Jeremy Davis pulled off in the skirt. They had a bare outline of what they were going to talk about. Neither really knew what the ques were and we really had one reheasal before we went to tape. It was all done in one take.

Look at how relaxed both actors are (maybe it's the beer, they're drinking real beer) through the whole thing. Quinn's motive was to talk about these traumatic moments in his life. Jeremy's motive was to keep him in line and run the show. Even the mistakes came out funny...when Jeremy asked Quinn about what happened in the bar in "Tombstone", Quinn really didn't know what happened. At the same time, Jeremy was choking on the dip in his mouth and really needed Quinn to talk. Watch it's hilarious and honest.

Great job by both actors.

Joe Bob: Quinn Carlson
Jeff: Jeremy Davis

Friday, October 06, 2006


This was my second film that I shot on 16mm. I only had 12 minutes of film and thank god for Brian Shelburne, my lead man on the bench - he made every take count. I even put him in the situation of interacting with live people. When you see him reaching for people, those are not actors. If one or two person interacted with him, that would've ruined the take. I was hoping that people would ignore him and they did.

The transfer from 16mm to VHS tape to DV didn't hold up that well. I still have the 16mm print. The film looks great but I had to transfer it to VHS tape to edit the short. Editing was done on Media 100 (it's comparable to premier).

All in all, it was a fun 4 hour shoot. If all shoots were like that...

Man on Bench: Brian Shelburne
Editing and Music: Scott Villani
Written and Directed by Charlie Cheng

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Chinese Take-Out

Everybody loves Chinese food but it's so hard to understand the guy/girl behind the counter. Yeah, I can go to P.F. Chang's Asian Bistro but that's water-down chinese. The best Chinese food is the ghetto take-out restaurants where the people working there look like they haven't taken a day off in decades...that's who I want making my food.

Hope you enjoyed our piece about how the Chinese really feel about their customers. Do keep in mind, this is only our opinions and not all Chinese people speak prefect english behind your backs.

We shot the short with a split screen. This was also done in two takes and shot the same day as "The next Chuck Norris?".

If you like what we're doing...let us know. If you hate what we're doing...let us know.

Charlie Cheng as Chinese Guy
Quinn Carlson as White Guy

Directed by Mark Katz
Written and Produced by Charlie Cheng

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The next Chuck Norris?

Let the revolution begin! The first video is up for all the world to see. "The next Chuck Norris" stars Jeremy Davis as the 20-time IMF World Champion John Johnson. IMF stands for "International Midget Federation".

John Johnson has an extreme hatred of midgets and he wants to show the world his fighting tactics for protecting yourself against the "crazy little animals".

Some of his unique moves are...

1. Iron Cross
2. the Buckler
3. the Spackler
4. Decapitator
5. Hammer of God

We shot the footage on beta cam in a Public Access Studio in Santa Monica. It was a three camera set-up with Mark Katz setting up the lights and picking out all the music. The 70's mustache is real and takes 3 days to grow. After a 10-second sound check, Jeremy Davis nailed the 7 minute monologue in one take.

Hope you enjoyed it!

Jeremy Davis as John Johnson

written by Jeremy Davis
edited by Mark Katz and Charlie Cheng
directed by Mark Katz
produced by Charlie Cheng