Making “The twit”

Making “The twit”

Here’s a video that I enjoyed putting together more than most. It was also surprisingly challenging.

It all started with OhCurt’s question about why people are so obsessed with Facebook and Twitter. I’d been thinking about a similar question myself, as I wondered just why so many people seemed to be so keen to make their private lives public. On the face of it, that might seem a bit hypocritical of me, as I make no secret of my identity; but I don’t do what the character in this video does, which is to keep the world updated about everything he does, all the time. This is a guy who’d get out of bed in order to blog the fact that he had a nightmare. I still have a private life, thank you very much.

The concept wasn’t hard to think up, coming as it did quite naturally from OhCurt’s little rant. The finer details of the story took a little while to ferment, but I always knew he’d end up in the bathroom, blogging about the colour of his stools. So, previous to that, he had to eat something iffy. My logical mind then added the rest: coming home from work, and, in order to give the iffy food time to work its magic, relaxing. All the while blogging.

Relaxing in front of the TV seemed to be the normal thing to do, and since this man uses a certain microblogging site (which I won’t name, but we all know what I’m talking about here) to tell everyone every last mundane detail of his boring life, it had to be a boring show. Don’t ask me where nasal singing came from: it just popped into my mind. I wish everything did.

I was going to do the TV documentary voice myself, but one thing I’d like to do is to get other people involved in my movies. This is for several reasons:

  1. It’s much more interesting for viewers, and adds a little variety.
  2. It benefits both me and my collaborators, as we get to be seen (or heard) by each other’s fans.
  3. It fosters a sense of community.
  4. I have had cameos in other people’s videos; if I’m making stuff for other people, other people can make stuff for me.
  5. Just because.

And so I asked Sugartalker to make an audio file for me, and to make it sound as boring as possible.

Really, I’d have been happy with just a monotone read-through, but he crafted a wonderful piece of audio which included some sound effects. I didn’t actually expect ever to hear Brogovarian nasal singing or the mating call of the lesser spotted tripe-warbler — didn’t even think it would be possible — but Sugartalker delivered in spades. This did make it almost twice as long as I needed it, but it was too good to go completely to waste; that’s why the remainder is played out over the end credits.

The most difficult sequence of the whole thing to put together was the first scene, of my character arriving home. There are five different takes involved, and several actions were filmed multiple times from different angles. Now I know what continuity directors are for. It’s surprisingly difficult to remember the small things, like: should my left hand be in my pocket at this point? And don’t ask me how many times I went up and down those steps. After that, the challenge was to edit the whole thing together so that everything flowed smoothly.

Another learning experience was the mad dash down the hallway to the bathroom. That was quite simple, but to get a sense of a mad dash, it’s amazing how much ends up on the virtual cutting-room floor. I ripped open the living-room door and tore down the hallway, but when I played that scene back, there was at least a second between my opening the door (although you couldn’t see the door, you could tell by the light flooding into the hallway) and my actually appearing. I couldn’t have done it faster, but keeping the timing true to the laws of the physical universe as we know it would have brought that mad dash to a snail’s pace on screen. And so you have it: the character hardly has time to rise from the sofa, and a split second later he’s in the hallway, and yet when you watch it, it doesn’t look as if he broke the sound barrier.

And there you have it. This is the kind of stuff I enjoy: it was fun, I learned a lot, and the end result is quite good.