I have Good News, Bad News, and Good News again. Let’s start with the bad. CHAPTER I – A ROSSDONIA STORY OF CRIME, LOSS, and LOVE
This past Thursday, My Sexy Fiancé Veronica™ and I got to have a nice lunch, then she was to drop me off at work. That part went off without incident. What I was not expecting was the panicked phone call a few minutes later when she informed me that our house had been robbed.
I hauled ass to get home. Surprisingly, the police were already here. They didn’t take anything too big. Aside from My Sexy Fiancé Veronica’s™ laptop, everything else was small. CD’s, DVD’s, my cameras, camcorder, and a handful of other smaller items were gone. They got in through the back window because the storm window was open and they were able to pry the window open.
The phone from my bedroom was off the hook, as well as in our bedrooms, all the drawers were overturned. This was a simple quick, low risk grab, but what worries me is that they might come back or tell someone else to get the big stuff now that we’ve been thoroughly inventoried.
Now, for the worst part of my story. On route to the homestead, My Sexy Fiancé Veronica™ called me back. She told me the cats were missing. Since the back door was open and the front door unlocked, they were both gone.
All my stuff, my worldly possessions seemed so much less valuable. All I cared about was finding my cats. By the time I walked in the door, there was Coussette, sitting all prim and proper on the floor and more than a little vocal, telling us what happened – not understanding that we can’t comprehend “Meow”. Where was “V”?
I searched the house upside down. The cop wants to ask questions, but I want to find my boy. Under every couch (except the one in My Sexy Fiancé Veronica™ room where it has been sufficiently turned upside down), I look. Nada. TJ comes in to help and we drive around the condo complex and even the apartments across the street. After 3 hours, my thoughts go very dark. I check every dumpster for his body because I know “V”. He is a demon sometimes, so I imagine him being himself scratching and/or biting anyone in the house, and those being not so amused.
As My Sexy Fiancé Veronica™ leaves for work; I set cat food out the front door and the back door. The weather was great, so I leave the windows open to listen for him. Nothing. I ask every person who walks by if they’ve seen a little black cat with a white underneath. No one has seen or heard anything. Finally, two girls tell me they saw him around the corner. I haul ass, but nothing. I lock the place up and circle every single building in the complex again. Nothing. No trace, no people, nothing. Did they take him? Did he run away? Did they hurt him?
When I get home, I collapse in exhaustion and being distraught. I truly believe I’ll never see the little bugger again. I start to lose my shit. As I do, the phone rings and its TJ, covering for me at work. As my thoughts drift again to my baby boy…. That little bastard starts head butting me. He was hiding upstairs for over 5 hours. “V” walks a little funny, as the thieves has hit him or thrown him. He was hurt, but not too bad. Obviously he was terrified, but I was so happy to see him. He would not be pet or touched for over half an hour. Eventually, his back was sore, but okay.
For the last several nights, he has slept very close to me (usually on me), and he’s recovering nicely. “V” is spoiled, but I love the little terrorist.
In the aftermath, our insurance is not covering any of this, not even with deductible. I said over and over again that I didn’t care about my stuff; I only wanted my cat back. Now I have to live with that promise and I do. I lose over 600 DVD’s, but I still have “V”. That’s what matters most and every time that little bastard head butts me or gets in front of my monitor while I try to edit, I smile, knowing I have not lost what is most important to me.
Even in the end, even criminals can’t take away the warm glow of Rossdonia these days. As the next chapter will further demonstrate, Karma pays me back rather quickly for my losses….
CHAPTER II : MARKETING ON THE WEB
I don’t work as hard as I used to when it comes to web video. I used to do it a lot more because I had new material. It’s been a long time since I did more than a webdocs for HORRORS OF WAR, which is starting to grate my head. As I have said, I’m ready to move on, so in gearing up for the next feature, I’m testing a few things.
Getting back to directing actors, working with script, and editing are all like any other art form – you need to practice to get better, and practice to stay sharp. So I delved back into the art of the short form because I was asked to by someone at Sony Pictures for their site CRACKLE.COM. I chose to make HOW TO DEAL WITH TELEMARKETERS as a victim because it’s something everyone can relate to. So my first test is to see if what I find annoying/interesting/popular holds true. Do people want to watch a video about torturing telemarketers?
The second test was involving the workflow, testing technology in the shoot using tapeless shooting on a hard drive instead of on tape, shooting in HD, editing in HD, and working with another editor. How are my communication skills? Working with actors again had its ups and downs. I will be more careful in casting in the future. Like any other aspect, I have to keep in shape with actors and work with them more often.
Working on a soundstage and set as opposed to location was new for me, at least as director. I’ve worked crew on sets before, but this was my first time to experiment with that environment. Playing with moving set pieces and lighting were fun, but I still have a lot to learn there. A lot. I did not get the lighting I wanted, but I was not communicating what I wanted well enough.
Given the “sketch comedy” style of the piece(s), I decided to break them up into shorter vignettes (see how to spell this John?) and release those as separate items on all the sites but CRACKLE.COM. The goal is to get “viral marketing” going on the other sites for the individual bits. If any one of them catches on, then they might watch more, or even if they like one and hate another, I get some idea what worked and what didn’t. I’ll put the compilation exclusively on CRACKLE so that it is more of my main focus. My original intent was to enter it into the SHORT FILM contest, but since there isn’t a true “narrative” in these, it felt more appropriate to enter it into the Sketch Comedy contest called “MOVING TARGETS”. The prize is still $15,000 and you meet with Sony Picture’s TV execs as opposed to Movie Execs.
The final test was related to the first – marketing to see if people would respond to the material. Given that the intent was the Internet and specific sites, I think the statistics answer fairly well. My results are that YAHOO VIDEO so far was boosted this by making it the “FEATURED VIDEO” and got me over 9,000 views in less than 24 hours. I won the Editor’s Award for Oct 19th from Sony Picture’s CRACKLE.COM for the movie. Other sites are slower going, as YouTube sits in the hundreds of views, but the pool is much diluted on their site. It’s a LOT harder to break through there these days. YouTube has become a brand name and there are literally millions of videos of any yahoo doing anything for :10 seconds to sift through.
Now in terms of the individual vignettes, the one where I simply made a video of what most people visiting Rossdonia have personally witnessed. I ask the telemarketer/bill collector to hold on, start playing soothing elevator music and start to speak into the receiver “please stay on the line. One of our residents will be with you shortly” and eventually hang up. I thought this would be funny to demonstrate, so that was the impetus of this project. George Caleodis contributed many ideas to the mix and Ouila! We had ourselves a new web series of videos.
We’ll check up on the statistics and numbers in the next blog to continue the hypothesis as it experiments its way to full on theories. Various techniques of promotion and hype have not been implemented fully yet, but as I do, we’ll check these against the stats. That will be the next blog, my faithful acolytes.
As it is, I am not distraught about the break in. We’ve taken several measures to prevent further break ins, including an alarm security system and some window protection (thanks TJ!).
Keep Feeling Fascination, my acolytes!
– The real PJR, accept no substitutes!