Kellen here. Haven’t done one of these for a long time. Since April it looks like. Yeesh! Well, we have a few shorts under our belt that I have yet to discuss. LET’S GET AFTER IT.
Trapped in the Bathroom: Chapter One
How did this bizarre idea come to be? I was in between living situations and staying at a place I was just getting used to.
I had just taken a shower and stepped out of the tub. My hands hand been dry lately so I figured, eh what the hell, I'll slap some of this moisturizer on. I think it was mine. Heck, I don’t even know. Who cares. Moisturizer should be free like air.
After I worked it in to my desert hands I reached for the doorknob and turned it. My hand slipped right around it. I thought to myself "That was weird." Then I tried it again and the same thing happened. For a second I envisioned myself getting trapped in the bathroom like a huge idiot because I decided to moisturize my hands like a responsible adult. All I wanted was to get rid of the bleeding cracks on my hands, but then I trapped myself in here. Luckily, I was barely smart enough to get out. I wiped the excess moisturizer off my hands with my towel. I opened the door and went on about my day. What a stupid problem.
Really, any person would be able to figure out how to get out of this predicament better than our lead character did (or didn't). We all know there are several things you could do to get the moisturizer off your hands even if you didn't have a towel in there with you. But the main thing with our shorts is finding ways to escalate the situations as quickly as possible.
The title was Billy's idea, which was genius because it's a take on R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet: Chapter One which is one of the most outrageous songs ever. When I asked Nathan, the other actor, if he wanted to be a part of the shoot he was down immediately and said he had Trapped in the Closet: Chapter One on his iPod and maybe chapters 1-23 on DVD. I don’t think he was kidding and I am very okay with that.
Check out the the music video below. It's kind of amazing how it looks like they used the same cinematographer who shoots every single Hallmark movie.
Starring: Billy Sommers, Nathan Rouse, Kellen Berg. Written by: Billy Sommers and Kellen Berg. Shot and Directed by Kellen Berg.
Written with Writer Duet. Shot on a Canon 80D.
6 Ways to Know Your Relationship is Doomed
We had the idea for this sketch for a very long time—ever since we did 6 Ways to Fail a Job Interview. We found success with that and decided to do another take on the concept. Plus, we liked the concept too because you could fit in a variety of jokes in a short amount of time and we thought that served viewing it on social media well.
We came up with a large amount of silly scenarios for the couples to go through and we eventually whittled it down to a handful. I am particularly fond of the Arby’s jokes in there because of my undying love for them. Also the video of Joey Chestnut chugging the hell out of hot dogs. So disgusting, yet viciously impressive.
This shoot was a blast for us. Our two actors, Diana and Jay, were great to work with and super game for whatever. When Jay first did his Dane Cook impression I had to change my diaper because I was so blown away.
Starring: Diana Jurand, Jay Kistler. Written by: Billy Sommers and Kellen Berg. Shot and Directed by Kellen Berg.
Written with Writer Duet. Shot on a Canon 80D.
Dangerous Dan’s Super Loco Bullet Fiesta
Dangerous Dans’ Super Loco Bullet Fiesta was inspired by SNL’s Kickspit Underground Rock Festival videos. I find them so hilarious. We wanted to mimic them somehow and I think we did a pretty good job. Check out Dangerous Dan above, then watch a few of SNL’s below to see how they match up.
Writing this took some time because we kept coming up with more and more ridiculous ideas and we kept revising it. We had some pretty outrageous jokes in the script at one point, but we stripped it down because we thought it was too much. Yes, we had weirder jokes in there.
Shooting was the easiest part. We had issues with the teleprompter, but we got it all set up. Will, our actor, was very ready to scream that night and plowed through multiple takes.
The hardest part by far was editing. When we had only one set up with Will we just let the camera roll and didn’t cut as much as we probably should have. Classic. This gave us a lot of footage and it was tedious to skim through and trim. Once we got Will’s takes chosen we had to add in text graphics, other video, photos, and sound effects. The one problem that was discovered as we dropped those in was that it didn’t feel full enough. There was always more we could add to it, specifically sound effects so we really did our best with adding those in. This sketch up wildly up and down—a bit schizophrenic you might say—and everything had to feel that way, whether it was visual or aural.
Starring: Will Prescott. Written by Billy Sommers and Kellen Berg. Shot and Directed by Kellen Berg.
Written with Writer Duet. Shot on a Canon 80D.
The Small Screen Screamer
The inspiration for The Small Screen Screamer came partly from a true story. I had a barely supernatural experience while visiting friends in another state. I never expected anything like that to happen to me and didn’t necessarily believe that ghosts were real. Sure, I got excited when someone told me their ghost story, but I was never yearning to have my own experience. Well, lucky me, I did.
When I got back from the trip, I wrote a 10-page sort-of-horror script for it called She Came From the Hills. I was planning on shooting it, did a few tests, but realized that it was going to be very difficult to film and it wasn’t funny. It wasn’t going to fit in with the Comedy Fiends’ voice. I set the script aside.
Almost a year later I watched Steven Soderbergh’s film called Unsane. It was shot entirely on an iPhone. This was not the first time anyone had done this. One of the first feature films to be shot on an iPhone is called Tangerine. Other shorts had been shot with it too. Soderbergh used an app called Filmic Pro to shoot the entire movie. He had a few other gadgets to help him make it look slick, but overall I was really impressed with how it looked. Mostly I was amazed that I had access to this technology too. Everybody does. I had the phone and all I had to do was buy the $15 app. At that point I was sold on the idea of shooting a short this way. I thought it would be a good experiment.
I started writing the rough draft and implemented a few elements from the original script I wrote. The first few drafts were pretty dull. Not a ton of comedy, just a lot of ghost stuff. There was also a montage that we cut thank god, because it would’ve been a pain to shoot and a bore to watch. Eventually, Billy helped add in more comedy and we took a few of our favorite jokes from previous unfilmable scripts of ours notably The Kurt Bender Story, a 30-page short about Kurt Bender reconnecting with his sister.
I used a few of the elements from my original short screenplay and combined them with bizarre phone calls and binge watching TV. I tried to make fun of the fact that there is so much content on Netflix and how people stay inside for whole weekends to watch entire seasons and don’t even go out to see their friends. God forbid you get out of your sweatpants to interact with an actual human being and not stare at a soulless monitor that’s burning your retinas. I’m not sure if this worked in the final version. I’m too close to it at this point or maybe I don’t feel like analyzing it anymore.
Shooting on the iPhone was certainly manageable, but there were a few hiccups. The Filmic Pro app takes some time to get used to and I found it very difficult lining up a shot when I was shooting by myself. Although, good news, If I watched this without knowing it was shot on an iPhone I’d assume a DSLR was used. It’s truly impressive what iPhones can do. Personally, I don’t think you’d need to shoot on anything else if you’re producing only videos for the web.
After we shot the majority of this scenes with Billy and myself, I had an idea to fit in a character we had created over a year ago named Dutch Cleveland. He’s the person Billy’s character references in episode one. He specializes in plowing ghosts. I was going to have the main character give him a call to see if he can help him get rid of this ghost. There was going to be a bunch of sexual innuendoes, which resulted in lots of of hilarious miscommunication and confusion.
In addition to that, I had an idea to shoot how the ghost character was killed. He was going to be murdered by a robber in 2004 right after the Frasier series finale aired. He was going to be talking on his landline phone with his friend about how great the series finale was and how all he wanted to do was sit down and watch the entire Frasier series again, but then this robber steps in and blows his face off. I actually had all of these scenes written out in the script, but we never shot them. We got too busy in other areas of our lives and there was no way to fit it in.
Starring: Kellen Berg, Billy Sommers, Kelvin Hatle. Written by Kellen Berg and Billy Sommers. Shot by Billy Sommers and Kellen Berg. Directed by Kellen Berg.
Written with Writer Duet. Shot on an iPhone 6s using the Filmic Pro app.
Stayed tuned for another blog post detailing what we’ll be working on next!