Topics » “Creative Process”

SERIES PREMIERE: Tony the TIGER With the NEWS

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

There’s been much SNEEZE acho’d about the future of news–the proverbial piano that’s DROPPED on the ‘old way’ of doing things. As the clean-up of the ivories endures– we thought it might be nice to put Tony the Tiger, epic spoke’s cat for the legendary Frosted Flakes cereal IN the ANCHOR CHAIR!

BEHOLD– the “Confessions” series from the newsies down @Schmooru. The concept here is our team goes in, interviews the heck out of people who work in real places to get to the truth, without revealing their identities. We protect the sources, you get the goods.

Our first series OUTS a DirectTV Call Center. We all have had to call these places, but what’s it like on the other side of the line? If you think its bad navigating the dial trees, imagine what its like eating shit from people with problems you’re not allowed to solve for 10 hours a day? In call centers– there’s only one rule, no matter what they say to you, you can never hang up.

IN this NEVER BEFORE done expression of journalistic integrity–the only thing you’ll be left saying at the end of Call Center Confessions is “Its’ G-R-r-r-r-r-r-eat!!”

NEW SERIES: ‘Mike’ Bloomberg Hangs Ten!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

As I spend about half my time in New York City–I often think of our dear Mayor, Michael “Mike” Bloomberg and how he would react to whatever I’m looking at in the various corners and crevices of this massive city under his rule.  Has he been to the rooms full of garbage in Greenpoint?   Did he grease palms in the Target parking lot in Maspeth?  How about the Pee on the Franklin Avenue shuttle–did he smell it?     Has he ever been to Staten Island– he’s the mayor of that place too–right?

With the recent hurricane and the evacuations–I imagine that “Mike” was reminded about a place called the Far Far away called the Far Rockaways.  This beach front property, takes at least an hour to get there by the A train from the tip of manhattan– and that’s if you don’t take the Lefferts line by mistake.   This island that costs about $3.50 just to get over the bridge and about $2.25 to leave by train is filled with projects–GOODTIMES STYLE.

Why would anyone put projects on the beach?  Well lets just say–its REALLY HARD to be there in the winter time.   It doesn’t smell all that good in the summer time– and the places to make money are in a land you can sometimes see on a clear day, but in reality is far far away.

That’s where our newest series 36 Degrees takes place.   Filmmaker and Santa Cruz native Annie Woods, has been embedded in the quiet surf scene that actually exists in New York City.  Although in recent years it has gained more attention (I’m told they did just have the Quicksilver Pro Tour out in Long Beach) the east coast surf scene still remains a vague mystery to most.   36 Degrees goes where Bloomberg doesn’t–to the end of the A train to find out what it means to live in the biggest cosmopolitan city and be a surfer.

 

RATED: Who the F*ck is This Guy?

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

There’s a lot of provocative stuff going on the airwaves right now but it doesn’t mean our times are any more provocative(even if they are).  As Broadcast News gasps its final breaths, its going to take the kitchen sink, counter, walls–heck the entire neighborhood down with it as it tried to hang onto what’s left of its dwindling audiences. Mass media requires mass audiences to survive–like vampires need blood. And as it creeks its LOUD, slow death, it will become even more suckered with hyped-out, deadlined horror stories like national debt defaults, Charlie Sheen explosions, bad things that happen to cute blond chicks and terror scares on September 11th–its just unavoidable, its like rigor mortise.


The next couple of years will feel like the worst part of the worst Star Trek episode on repeat at ear shattering volume.  DAMN IT JIM!–who’s left to simply cut through the crap, make any sense of it all? You won’t find that here. “Making any sense of it all” is OVER RATED and I certainly wouldn’t trust anyone who claims to sell you that story–in the meantime, we offer RATED. Its a new short format show from Schmooru.

In each episode K. W. Rockefeller is presented with some of the toughest issues of our time. Without hesitation or prior preparation, he concludes whether something is Under/Over or just plain RATED.

On failure, in filmmaking

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

It’s sometimes really, really hard to be a creative person in a money-needing world, ‘innit?

Say you’re a filmmaker, kind of broke, and you finally get that gig that you need to pay your rent. You’re pretty stoked (actually, you’re VERY stoked), and you show up on the day of the shoot and do your best to shoot it to the specs provided by the client– allowing yourself one or two creative divergences when everything starts to feel just a bit too…. corporate. You go home happy.

When you examine the footage the following morning, your heart sinks.

Due to one of those creative divergences you allowed yourself, the main subject is backlit. The client – who just wanted a simple interview and reminds you briskly that he made that eminently f-ing clear – is totally pissed. You feel like a failure, an amateur, and wonder what the hell inspired you to even think you could do this in the first place.

***

The realization of one’s own mistakes is hard. Even when one has an intimate understanding of the complexities that informed them, a self-defense mechanism kicks in and one becomes immediately inclined to blame. The client has no vision. The machine broke. I must really really REALLY suck. The light seeeeemed fine when I shot it. Whatever.

In truth, we all know that our angry blaming behavior – whether directed at the client or at ourselves – typically comes when issues aren’t being properly addressed within our own brains or when we just didn’t read the damn manual on the lighting kit. We find ourselves powerless, our knowledge lacking, unable to advance, and the voice in our head whispers, cruelly ‘This is all. your. fault.’ And the hard truth is that a lot of our failures – not all of them but a lot of them – are in our own control. This of course makes us feel extra-shitty when we fail: Not only did we fail, but we also double-failed by letting ourselves fail.

Incongruously, and counter-productively, when faced with the problems that we confront in our lives as filmmakers & artists, lethargy tend to kick in. A person is clearly better served by plastering on a big smile and adopting a kick-ass attitude, and starting over (doing things exactly as instructed this time). And yet we find ourselves straying from the line, griping about the client, and semi-seriously daydreaming about a new career as a florist.

And that, my friends, is what leads to a real, actual lack of success – or at least has led to mine. When you walk away, take the easy route, give up.

Sometimes, upon further reflection, those little failures – the ones that lose us the job but prove that at least we’re in the game – are the better alternative.

 

School is a Scam

Friday, May 27th, 2011

School is a Scam

By Annie Woods

 

This article is biased. It’s biased because I never liked school. I sat in the back. I negotiated black market deals in the cafeteria so other kids would do my homework. In fact, I once posted signs around school marketing this business. They were in color, had a witty advertising line and eventually landed me a parent teacher conference with our 40 year old principal who still suffered from adult acne and had a little mustache that earned him the catchy nickname “Hitler”.

When I think back to what I actually learned in high school I am haunted by teachers so old they should have been in nursing homes, points deducted when words like “gosh” and “freaking” were used. I should probably mention here I went to an extremely religious private school that made learning anything remotely useful in the real world a joke.

By the time I took high school English I imagine it was my English teacher’s 200th time reading Hamlet. His lack of passion – as obvious to us as a mustard stain on a white t-shirt – is why I never opened that book. These people were grumpy dinosaurs. They inspired me only to rebel in one of two ways: 1. Be a smart-ass 2. Skip class entirely.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy learning. Rather, it was the pre-destined subjects we were forced to learn that I detested. I loved to read, but Shakespeare just couldn’t compete with David Sedaris or Tom Robbins, and if my school had found out that I was reading the hilarious autobiographical book of a gay man in New York City, they probably would have burned me at the stake – Crucible-style.

In my senior year of high school, a 42 question multiple choice aptitude test with questions like ‘On social occasions do you prefer listening to what is going on around you or do you prefer watching the goings-on?’ decided I would be either a paralegal or a flight attendant. I remember the other kids in my school high fiving each other as if they had won something great: “Dude, I’m going to be a pilot!”

I crumpled mine up and made a shot in the waste basket that would make Shaq blush.

I went to college for one year after high school. It was slightly more interesting than high school, mostly because I came across a fake id, and was really good at rolling joints. It was still an environment that killed creativity and bred conformity. I had to leave.

Which brings me to my THESIS STATEMENT (ß–college word): School is a scam. It is unfair, it divides people economically and separates the masses. With college now costing 400% more in the United States than it did just 30 years ago, access is definitely not equal.Yet our society continues to push and preach that having a degree will in someway set you free and make the “American Dream” more attainable. In reality, student loan debt is now greater than credit card debt for the first time ever. With a generation enslaved in debt, how can we expect people to attain new frontiers? What innovation and creativity can take place when the stress of debt and living suffocates the creative motivation you once had? And do we also sacrifice our wanderlust? Our ability to explore and learn from the world?

I guess what I am asking is: What is our trip to the moon?

School takes you in, sifts your pockets faster than you can say Bachelor’s Degree, and leaves you naked in the world with a sign tapped to your back that reads “good luck, kid”.

When people ask me now if I have a degree I smile and say: I have a library card, it was free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Schmooru is a California Based concern

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I still like the CRAZY days
I always will
thats why SF is home )
Liz: why is SF home?
me: I can have the crazy days without judgment my whole life through

I need the crazy days

Liz: ha
me: not so much at once
as HARRISON and etx did in the day
but I need crazy to be possible
there’s an unwink to people on the streets there, (she’s one who gets it and wants them too)

In NYC they seemingly want to write something or be told something about crazy days
then act them out. That’s all they have time & space for.

In DC they do this too, but they despise the crazy days


In SF, we’re just a bunch of little kids out there.
Liz: is there a heroin scene in brooklyn?
Liz: I got that distinct impression last time I visited
me: it wouldnt surprise me
thats not what Im looking for
Liz: I really tried to change the subject
no way man
awful

me: crazy is the freedom to not ‘make CENTS’

california-as a direct democracy doesnt make CENTS
they have laws that disagree
the place is ungovernable

like trying to make sense to a little kid
Liz: ha
me: I love that shit
theres so much opportunity in that

me: sometimes that leads to a BUMMER
but there’s more a chance to allow for STOKED
in california you only have those two choices.

Don’t Fear China. Those Grammarians Will Kill It First.

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

With last month’s visit of Hu Juntao, President of China — its like everyone’s worried about China taking over the United States! OMGAA! What’s most shocking to me is that this display of pageantry has sparked so much discussion about the two NATIONS, as if there aren’t people working on relations or flying on airplanes between the two places at every hour of every day of the year. (more…)

My Junior English Teacher Passed Away This Week

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

To set the mood, lets start this class in the continued pursuit in this forum of where creativity originates — with this sound to begin the “Morning Announcements, just as it once did in Barbara Wagner’s English classroom in 1990s Ottawa Hills, Ohio as she scowled from her front table. (more…)

R. I. P. Major Magic

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

I’m not a military sentimentalist, but somehow, I imagine, the next Veterans day will not be the same since the recent passing of Major Magic and his ALL STAR PIZZA REVIEW. (more…)

TOP FIVE: Dentist Office Songs

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

The creative process rarely fully conceives of distribution. Will your work end up posted in an Applebees or at some snooty apple orchard art fair — its not always clear. (more…)