Week 16: Moving Forward With The RC

9 05 2010

So what’s next?

Well, we’re continuing to work on projects whether we end up continuing our partnership with MUTV or not.  Frankly, the censorship and disorganization there is getting pretty tiring.  I think it’s fair to say that we enjoy working with a lot of the people there, but we’re not sure at this point that it’s a worthwhile arrangement from our perspective.  Allow me to elaborate!

Johnny portraying a “G” in the “MUTV Memories” short

For example:  The episode we announced in the post for Week 7 required a pretty significant investment in time.  I wrote that post as soon as we completed it.  We understand that we have responsibilities when it comes to our show – we need to turn in a few episodes each semester to make sure we’re pulling our weight at the station.  However, not surprisingly, schoolwork comes first.  We were struggling to get everything else in our lives accomplished, but the leadership at MUTV was pressuring us to get an episode finished for them.  We took a good deal of our time to put the episode together, even if it was sub-par, and turned it in.  We were relatively satisfied with it, though it was nothing earth-shattering.  Unfortunately, the management at MUTV did not feel that way.  They told us we were making a mockery of the station and ordered us to re-edit it to be less offensive to them.  What they were referring to, as I’ve explained before, was the mock-interview in “MUTV Memories” in which Johnny and I degrade our show and by proxy (I guess) the station itself.  We were required to make that segment for the Spring MUTV party, which we were also required to attend.  Since we had no choice but to make it, we had a little fun with it.  We put it into our episode because it was already done – there was no reason not to include it.  Anyway, as a result of their complaints, we cut a new version of the episode that didn’t include the offending segment.

Big Robbie Z giving an interview in 1966 – pretty funny stuff

In place of “MUTV Memories,” we included a classic interview with Bob Dylan and some high school pictures of our favorite punching bag, Wes Gordon.  Naturally, this was not as entertaining, but it worked.

Fast forward a month and a half.  The episode FINALLY airs on MUTV.  We had been waiting for our work to be shown for all that time, having even rushed to the lab a week before spring break to put our episode on the computers because they had instructed us to turn in the edited version by the end of the week of March 15th.  We were considering quitting our work with the station for most of this time, and we had just about made up our minds when the new episode finally appeared on the channel.  The problem was that the version which they aired was the original – the one they had complained about.  Thus, they had either changed their mind about the offensiveness of the show and wasted the time I put into re-editing, re-compressing, and turning it in a second time, or they had put the wrong version on the air by mistake.

This was pretty offensive to us.  They complained until we rushed out an episode, they disliked the (truly very mild) content so we made them a new one, they failed to air it for a month and a half, and when they did they aired the wrong one.

“Exec” Meetings

So let’s get into the other aspects of working at MUTV.  If you have a show, your show has to have Executive Producers.  Executive Producers have to attend “Exec” meetings, where an amazingly small amount of business gets done.

A typical exec meeting might go like this:  Johnny and I arrive 15 minutes early, but don’t enter the meeting room until right before the meeting.  When we enter, there are not enough seats at the table, so we sit in a ring of chairs outside the table.  That’s just as well, because none of this meeting will pertain to us in any way.  Katy will begin the meeting earnestly enough, telling us about a few announcements – upcoming events that will require a few volunteers – and then she might hand out some sort of survey.  As a rule of thumb, nothing discussed at the meeting couldn’t be done just as easily over email.  Finally, we get to something important about 15 minutes into the meeting.  Katy begins to discuss the resources we’ll have available to us in the new MUTV studio in the new addition to the student center.

Suddenly, Nick Balogh barges in covered in rain.  He is wearing a big coat and holding an umbrella that he did not use while he was outside.  He exclaims at a snail’s pace, “Hey guys!  Sorry I’m late!  I had the thing and the stuff!  What did I miss?!  Have we taken the survey yet?!  Let me tell you guys about the upcoming events we have.  We’ll need some volunteers.”  The room sits quietly and waits for Nick Balogh to choose every word in his explanation in the same manner that he would choose a child to adopt.  He covers everything we have discussed so far, but speaks at one-forth the speed and conveys one-eighth the information.  His meandering over all of the topics we’ve already covered finally ends, and Katy thanks him for showing up.  She then begins to dismiss the meeting, but then remembers that Nick was going to show us something on the computer.  Rather than meeting in the auditorium where the computer could be projected onto a screen, we had met in the meeting room.  Whoops!

So, we all walk to the other side of the building and find seats in the auditorium.  At this point, Johnny and I are ready to pull the hair out of our heads, so we sit in the far back and twiddle our thumbs.  Meanwhile, Nick Balogh cannot figure out how to get the computer to project on the screen because he had not gotten the equipment ready ahead of time.  When Nick Balogh finally gets the projector working, he realizes that the server program he needs is not installed.  He visits the vendor’s website and tries to install it, but the restrictions on public University computers refuse to grant him the permission to install programs.  He then tries to explain the process of backing up video to the server with his hands.  After ten more minutes pass, we are allowed to leave.

Thinking about the future

Johnny and I have long been considering setting up a new agreement with MUTV.  I think we will propose this arrangement to the management next semester and if they refuse it, we’ll leave the station.  We’d like to avoid meetings and episode submission deadlines from now on.  This is an arrangement that shows have had before, so we don’t see why we can’t do business this way.  Academics come first, so it makes no sense to worry about getting an episode of Reacharound Clubhouse to the station by their arbitrary deadline when matters of importance to one’s GPA await.  We’ll send them episodes whenever we can finish them, and they can air them on the next convenient cycle of shows.  If they don’t like that, we’ll be on our way.

We simply don’t have the time to waste going to “required” parties, meetings, and other events.  We can’t make videos for their parties whenever they feel like requiring them.  We can’t go to recruitment meetings and hold our own meetings for our staffs.  We don’t have that kind of time.  The management at MUTV, none of whom are seniors, probably don’t understand how busy academics can get yet.  They can assume that we’re lazy with the rest of our time if they like, but that doesn’t disprove the fact that MUTV just can’t be a student’s highest priority.

That said, I truly wish them the best and hope that MUTV is a successful learning experience for underclassmen Journalism and Communication students.  I wish also that they were a bit more flexible when it comes to people who are donating their time to the network.  Johnny and I are not being paid to provide them with free content (which they own once we hand it over to them).  If we work for free, we expect a certain level of gratefulness and respect.  We don’t see being hassled all the time and having our time wasted as a very good way to ensure that we keep coming back.

Anyway, that’s my rant on MUTV.  Felt nice to get that out.

New Material?

We’re currently working on a segment in which we have a bit of fun with sci-fi fan culture.  If you weren’t aware, people who collect action figures and other trinkets from sci-fi franchises are typically VERY devoted.  When Star Wars documentaries poke too much fun at George Lucas, the filmmakers often get death threats from outraged fans.  No fan base, perhaps, is more obsessive about their action figures than fans of Transformers.

“It’s a thirty-minute toy commercial,” Johnny Hoelting says of the original animated Transformers series.

A popular trend on YouTube is to create videos in which fans do “product reviews” of Transformers action figures.  The videos are extremely bland and the people doing the reviews typically do them from their bedroom at their mom’s house.  They are not, shall we say, “well socialized.”  Here’s an example:

It’s horrific.  Listen to how quickly he talks.  He must be reading from a script.

Anyway, we decided to do a product review of our own.  Our version is so terrible, though, that we’re fairly confident it will receive some pretty brutal comments from over-zealous fans.  We can’t wait.  Johnny pronounces the name of the transformer incorrectly, transforms it incorrectly, and appears to be a complete idiot in general.  We posted the video on Transformers message boards and now we’re waiting to get comments.  When we have enough, we plan to make a segment for the show in which we pick our favorites from the crop of offensive comments.  Here’s OUR Transformers review.

We’ll see how things pan out in the future.  Keep watching the show and send me your feedback at mbsty5@gmail.com.  Thanks!


Week 15: Live Music On The Show

8 05 2010

Musical Performances

Originally, our show was intended to feature a format that alternated between live music performances from local artists and our own segments (animation, interviews, narrative scenes).  We wanted our show to be an outlet for the community’s music, which is a fairly decent crop of artists.  After lining up our first two acts, we decided to focus on creating our own material.  This was not because we disliked the musical performances, but because our show was becoming too broad.  We really didn’t have the resources to be seeking out artists, arranging to film in venues, and shooting the performances for every episode we created (all in addition to the work we were already doing).  We started to grow in numbers as a staff, but our time commitments to classes and jobs just proved too great.

I’m hoping to revisit the idea by returning to it on our show or by helping create a new show for MUTV with the premise of focusing entirely on local artists.  They all need attention in order to function and grow as performers, so I wouldn’t anticipate that a dedicated group of students would have too much trouble lining up acts to appear on their show.  The biggest challenge, as we found, was finding places to film bands that wouldn’t appear too amateur on camera.

Molly Trull and Anodyne

Our first musical guest was Molly Trull (who regularly plays with a band called Anodyne), who agreed to perform by herself with an acoustic guitar.  We looked at several venues in town, originally with our eye on the Blue Note for a large-room feel with nice acoustics, but it sounded as though that would be difficult to arrange.  We decided to look for a place where we could film after hours or during a low-traffic period so that we didn’t interfere with business by putting cameras around the room.  We eventually convinced the owners of the Cherry Street Artisan (now “The Underground”) to allow us to shoot there on a weekday evening.

We used four cameras, which seemed to vary the sequence enough, but I must say that the energy is fairly low.  I instructed the people holding cameras, some of whom didn’t have much experience, to keep in certain areas of the building and to avoid moving around very much.  This was just to ensure that we didn’t have footage that was too shaky to use, which sometimes happens when the camera is moved too much without a clear objective to the movement.  In hindsight, I absolutely wish we had more of a plan for the look of the sequence, but the management only gave us a few minutes to shoot our performance, giving us only one take.  If we shot it again, I would have one camera shoot a close-up of the guitar, alternating between the strumming hand and the hand manipulating the frets.  Another camera would give us a long shot of the entire stage from the back of the building while a third would be a close up on her face, from the shoulders up, from the right side of the stage.  A fourth camera could be a low angle (similar to the one we used on the left side of the stage) that captured her performance while she was heavily back-lit by a stage light.  If we used a fifth camera, it would be nice to close in on members of th audience, although there were only a few people present at the time.  All of the shots could benefit quite a bit by having more intentional movements incorporated into their footage.  It’s important to keep the viewer’s attention by finding interesting elements of a scene to focus in on while also capturing the performance as a whole.

As it stands, the take we captured and edited was a pretty straight-forward way to present the scene, but it worked for us well enough.  I think future performances could be much more interesting if the team had a bit more experience working together, however.

Marcus Miller

For our second performance we shot most of a music video for a mixed rap track by Marcus Miller.  This was obviously vastly different from shooting Molly’s live performance.  Marcus lip-synced to his song and we shot scenes in random places on campus.  Nearly all of the extras were people who just happened to be around and wanted to be in the video.  We finished enough material for second episode and ended up leaving this video out of the episode and didn’t manage to find time to return to it.  It only needed a bit more shooting for completion, but sometimes school can get out of hand.

Week 14: A Word With Danny

7 05 2010

Danny Garey, Executive Producer

Danny Garey (right) pictured with fellow dinosaur enthusiast Tom Wilson (Biff from Back To The Future)

“One morning, instead of my usual breakfast of scrambled eggs and Wheaties, I decided to work on a TV show.”

Danny Garey is a well-respected author and former philanthropist on the University of Missouri campus.  He’s now moving on to bigger and similar things.  I asked him what his deal was.

“From the bottom of the deck,” he said, peeling an orange.

Of the three executive producers on the show, Garey is the official talent scout and music director.  He’s managed to maintain live shooting security, keeping autograph-seekers far from Johnny during filming of the show.  “100% effective,” he says, “we’ve had no problems with that while I’ve been on the job.”

He tells me he’s “still committed” to finding the world’s last dinosaurs.  “They’re out there somewhere, and they want to be found.  Although, they must trapped or held hostage in some way, or they would have contacted me before now.”

Garey likes to keep an ear to the ground in the community to find upcoming events which can be filmed.  He was responsible for getting us set up to shoot at the Tea Party rally in Columbia, a segment that was later titled “Dinosaurs” (not surprisingly).

Here’s Garey at a typical RC brainstorming session.

Danny Garey was often the presiding chairman of brainstorming sessions, where he would direct the proceedings whereby Johnny explained his ideas.

The pizza delivery boy commercial represented a radical departure from our cinematographic style.  Danny was the driving force behind the project, which he was kind enough to lend his voice to.  He was able to easily shift his on-screen persona to that of the cranky old man.

“It was a really fluid thing.  I just delivered the lines and, you know, there was just this positive energy.”

Garey (center) with Ben Stewart (left) and Johnny Hoelting (right).

Week 13: A Moment With Johnny

5 05 2010

Big J Has His Say

“A true renaissance man, Johnny never misses an opportunity to express himself,” says Johnny Hoelting, who often complains that he appears too frequently in Reacharound Clubhouse.

“Johnny and Ben were kind of screwing around and they saw the thing and they work pretty well together, generally,” Johnny continued, “so they thought, ‘let’s take that energy and put it into a show.'”

Johnny bills himself as the official muse of Reacharound Clubhouse.  He once shared this anecdote with me:

“I wanted to go to dance camp after eighth grade, but my dad made me go to golf camp.  He told me I wouldn’t meet girls at dance camp.  So I went to golf camp and got my first kiss… with a lesbian in a tool shed.  It was not hot.  It did nothing for me.  When you were twelve, did you ever worry you were gay?”

Interested, I pressed Johnny to explain his views on capital punishment.

“It’s all about what age group you want to kill.  Seems like people who are against capital punishment are pro-abortion, and vice-versa.  I guess it’s just what age group you’re into killing.  Whatever works, ay?”

I expressed to Mr. Hoelting that his opinion might offend some.  He replied, “I don’t care,” and proceeded to belch.  “But you’re a television personality; someone young people look up to,” I said.  “You’ll create a minor stir.”

“If kids are stupid enough to believe what they see on TV, then they deserve to, uh, you know what I mean.”

On campus, Johnny excels in his posts as Mayor of Safety Town and President of the Star Wars Three-Dimensional Chess Team, but as his academics have become increasingly grueling, he’s had to give up being Vice President of the School of Business Mathletes.

Johnny was conceived by his parents on the set of Crocodile Dundee II, where his father was a gaffer and his mother portrayed “woman at counter” in the film.  From that moment, they knew Johnny would be born… if their plans failed.  Unfortunately, 1988 contraceptive technology had not caught up with the sexual needs of the day’s youth.  Thus, we are blessed with the Johnny’s ability to not take up too much space.

“Oh goodness,” remarked Johnny, flipping through an album of pictures of himself, “what have I become?!”

Week 12: “Waffle Comedy” Is A Complete Disaster

4 05 2010

A Spinoff?

Let me give you a bit of background.  In the Fall of 2009, our show took on a group of new staff members.  While we really tend to work as a small group, MUTV basically insisted that we should recruit staff at their meeting in Conservation Auditorium.  Things worked out very well and several new creative minds joined our staff.  This made it necessary to continue with regular meetings each week, but these tended to be a lot of fun so we didn’t complain.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t be nearly as productive as we would have liked to be with our schedules being what they were.  This limited us to about two episodes that semester.

That was fine with everybody; generally they just wanted to be part of a show and learn about writing, editing, shooting, etc.  Everybody except Derek.  Derek had been extremely enthusiastic about the show from the beginning, but he didn’t understand one of the most important principles of a creative industry like television: if you can’t take criticism, you’re done.  Derek’s ideas were beyond awful.  He really wanted to work on the show, liked to shoot and write (and, more than anything, to see himself on camera), and even started to get members of the staff to go out and shoot things with him on their own.  We greatly encouraged that attitude, since Johnny, Danny, and I couldn’t be around each time they needed to shoot something.  The problem was that everything Derek did was a parody or rip-off of something else.  He would pitch gems like:

  • Waffle Douche: Okay, so there’s this guy I’ve seen at the dining halls.  He stood behind this girl while she was making a waffle and told her she was going to make a mistake and spill her waffle.  Isn’t that nuts!  So here’s my idea – we’ll have that guy in other situations!  We’ll film someone putting a dollar into a vending machine to get some Doritos and the Waffle Douche will creep up behind him and tell him, “you’re going to mess up!”  Isn’t that funny?!  Then we’ll put the phrase “waffle douche” on the screen!

Johnny and I asked Derek, “Okay, cool, so what then?”  Derek responded, “Well, that’s it.”  There’s nothing else to that idea.  The audience is just expected to understand that.

  • Top Ten Worst Wake-Up Calls: Okay, so no one likes to wake up, right?  What if we had a top ten list with all the worst ways to wake up?  [Ben and Johnny: ‘Okay, so, what’s on the list?’]  I don’t know, like, really bad stuff.  Like getting water throw in your face!  [Ben and Johnny: ‘Hmm.  Maybe we’ll keep that in mind.  We’ll probably need some stronger ideas for the list…’]  Also important to note, he got a friend of his who is a journalism student to edit the intro to this using a preset in iMovie – Derek edited the rest.  You’ll notice that after the first two (#10 and #9) he just gives up and posts it online anyway.
  • Bro-back Mountain:  Okay, so what if we shot, like, the plot to Brokeback Mountain, but with some bros from fraternities in place of the two main characters?  [Ben and Johnny: “Brokeback Mountain jokes were pretty over-done before that movie even came out.  Are you sure?”]  Yeah!  It’ll be really funny!  Because they’re bros!  [Ben and Johnny: “So what’s the angle here?  How is this a twist on the movie?”]  They’re, like, frat guys!  So it’s funny that they’re getting romantic with each other.  [Ben and Johnny: “This sounds an awful lot like you and another guy will be going to a mountain somewhere to pretend to have sex on camera.  No offense, but how is that funny?”]  God, guys!  You never like my ideas!

Derek’s list of ideas was quite prolific, but we never came across an idea we could use.  I could list dozens of awful ideas here, but you get the picture.

A Show Is Born

The rest of the staff was unanimously against all of Derek’s ideas.  No one wanted to film with him after a while.  Everything was a parody of a 3-year-old movie or “Adult Swim” on Cartoon Network, or a joke that no one even had the opportunity to get because it was complete nonsense.  Johnny and I felt that we’d go easy on Derek, and so we always did our best to make him feel comfortable and welcome.  It’s tough coming up with funny ideas in a cynical college environment.  We understand that.  But if it’s clear that not even the people working on the staff can find anything funny about someone’s ideas, a campus filled with judgmental college students certainly won’t enjoy it.

Alas, Derek went to the management at MUTV and told them we weren’t productive enough and that we weren’t accepting his ideas.  He never mentioned this to us, he just went straight to the top and complained.  He insisted that they cancel our show.  Then he stopped coming to meetings.  To compromise, the leadership at MUTV gave him his own show without looking at any of his material ahead of time.  I’m sure they feel really good about that decision now.

Derek’s new show is called “The Comedy Brewery Presents: Drawing Bored.”  He had been pushing his “Waffle Comedy Show” idea as a segment on Reacharound Clubhouse for a while.  We stressed to him how bad it would be to put the word “comedy” in the name of something.  It sets it up for failure by essentially guaranteeing that it will be funny.  College students are critical enough and comedy is subjective enough that we don’t want anything unnecessary to limit how our show can be received.  It would be like calling a dramatic film “The Most Intense and Dramatic Movie You Have Ever Seen” and expecting people not to make fun of it.  You can’t set the bar that high for yourself and still have room to fall even a tiny bit short.

I can picture him coming up with the idea for the title with his friends:  They’re drinking, as cool bros always do, talking about chicks.  Derek is pushing his “Waffle Comedy Show” title.  His friends like the idea of keeping beer and drinking in the title to emphasize how mature and cool they are.  “Wouldn’t it be sweet if we could get the campus station to air a show with drinking in the title, bro?  You know, since we’re not of age, dawg?”  Someone suggests meaningless pseudo-puns like “drawing bored” or “Bar-B-Cute” or “The Fratmosphere” or  a golf show called “Golf Par-T.”  Finally, they compromise: “The Comedy Brewery Presents: Drawing Bored.”  Because putting several good ideas all in one place always makes something several times better.  Like baconaise.

Not surprisingly, Derek’s show “borrows” it’s entire format from Reacharound Clubhouse.  It’s a clip-comedy show that cuts from segment to segment (“skits” to use Derek’s third grade term), mixing media as much as possible and commenting on society, supposedly.  Of course, Waffle Comedy doesn’t try to avoid simply repeating things that have been done hundreds of times in pop culture already, as The RC does.  It basically takes proven formats that have been beaten to death on the internet like “top 10” countdowns, putting on a banana suit and dancing in public (i’m serious), and mentioning alcohol as much as possible.  Other things on the list of “things they avoid” include: using microphones or paying any attention to keeping the audio level constant, keeping an eye on whether footage was shot in 16:9 or 4:3 so it can be aired in that ratio, and straying from the same topics (fraternities, drinking, getting laid, and Derek’s face).

Here’s a typical clip from their show.  Here they take the Coors commercial format where footage of NFL coaches at press conferences is intercut with footage of a bunch of dudes talking about beer.

I’m really not even sure what his objective was here.  I feel like this is bad enough that it could actually go viral for being so terrible, as opposed to simply being funny.

Here’s a clip of him, without a microphone, just showing off his hilarious off-the-cuff comedy style.  Notice the cutting edge editing where he cuts back and forth between “himself talking” and “himself acting silly”.  This will seriously make you want to cry.

Week 10: More PSAs, Man

19 04 2010

Because a few PSAs is never enough

We’ve created another set of PSAs for your viewing pleasure.  There are four of them, all based on the same original PSA about supporting childrens’ after-school activities.  The last few we created involved dubbing in audio for their entire duration and creating some new graphics.  Each of the four new ones only required 2 seconds and 5 frames worth of changes, but they still required significantly more time to complete.  That’s because, like the Pizza Delivery PSAs, we’ve added a new mouth for one of the characters and had him deliver a short line at a convenient point in the PSA.  That requires frame-by-frame matching and animating for the entire 2 seconds and 5 frames each time, which is a bit more involved than dubbing audio.  Nonetheless, it’s still rather amusing.  This commercial is a little over-the-top in the first place, so we’re just taking it the rest of the way to ridiculousness.  The small boy originally just says, “that wasn’t very nice.”  Since that line is lame, we thought of some better lines.  A word of warning, some of these are a tad vulgar.

A little After Effects never hurt anyone

That’s the original boy from commercial before we gave him a soul patch.  He’s relatively static throughout the commercial until the shot where he speaks, when he starts moving his head quite a bit.  This made it a bit more challenging to sync a different mouth to him.

Here’s a frame from the original tape we shot of Johnny speaking the lines we used.

Here’s his mouth isolated.  I basically just created a mask in a circle around his mouth and feathered it significantly to blend it to the boy’s face.

Here’s the new mouth superimposed on the boy.  Pretty creepy . It doesn’t look very good, admittedly, but it works for a two-second shot in a silly comedy show.

Here’s a look at the mask outline, along with all the points (keyframes) I created for the movement of the mouth on one particular version of the PSA.  First I drew the mask circle around Johnny’s mouth – then realized he moved a little bit in each of his takes.  So I went through and changed the position of the mask over his mouth so that his lips would always be at the center of the mask.  That way he didn’t move outside of the circle at any point.  Then, I went through and changed the position of that mask to suit the movements of the boy’s head.  I also changed the shape of the mask at a few points to accommodate his mouth opening wider.

The last step of the process was to remove some of the red from Johnny’s mouth, which was shot in vastly different lighting from the boy in the PSA.  I applied the effect “Color Balance” (shown above) and removed the highlight red balance primarily.  At this point, it was pretty much as close as seemed to be reasonable.

Week 9: Reworking Existing Media

12 04 2010

PSAs, Man…

PSAs are relatively easy to rework, depending on how deep you get into them.  You have a variety of options because they are a blank canvas, in a way.  They are fairly neutral, so it’s less likely that they’ll be automatically removed (or censored) after being posted to YouTube because there are no corporate interests involved.  While they’re not widely seen by television viewers, they typically carry very simple ideas that are easy to take in new directions.

MUTV instructs its shows to include PSAs in their program when they have a little time to fill.  A show that runs about 28 minutes can make it up to 30 minutes with 4 PSAs so that they don’t have to recut their footage.  This means that MUTV has created an archive of PSAs for shows to use.  Obvious The RC doesn’t roll that way.  We decided to include PSAs, but not in their original form.  We frequently remix PSAs several different ways and run different versions throughout an episode.  With the help of our friend Nick Miller, we got a few PSAs done in only about an hour.  It’s easy content to create and it really doesn’t require much thought in order to be funny.  The simplest way to go about it, we’ve found, is simply to re-record the narration for the PSA.  We’ll add a new graphic at the end of the commercial as well, if necessary.

This first PSA was originally a little girl reciting “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider.”  She fumbles through the words, then a narrator explains that good nutrition at a young age vastly increases a child’s memory and helps them to do better in school.  We replaced the graphic at the end with a less appropriate graphic from a different PSA and replaced the narration as well.

Here’s one version of another PSA that was originally for FocusOnLearning.org and it was about children with learning disabilities.  It begins with parents making relatively ambiguous statements about their children related to brushing off learning disabilities, then a narrator tells the viewer to make sure to take children to a specialist to get help.  We deleted all the narration and had a bit of fun with the ambiguity of the initial statements.

Here’s another version of the same PSA, this time with an entirely different mood.  (A warning, this one’s in rather poor taste.)

Here’s another example of a PSA we’ve done.  This one is about staying in school and it only lasts about 15 seconds.  We basically just replaced one line, but it really ruins the whole thing.  We took a more complex approach to remixing this one, in that we actually altered the video.  We replaced the mouth of the old man in this PSA with Johnny’s mouth (very poorly).

Here’s an Ad Council PSA for the Library of Congress website which encourages people to study history.  It’s so terrible, that we felt whatever we did to it would make it better.  We remixed it five times.  Here’s just one version (another warning – this one has rough language):

We still have quite a few PSAs to take on, so you can expect to see more in the future.  Several are already shot/recorded and just need editing.  The Pizza Delivery PSAs have already been reworked a second time by some of our more enthusiastic viewers, so we know that they’re working, I guess.