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Very Clever » Making Movies

Vote for Very Clever Health Care Reform

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As you saw below, Very Clever produced a short video for Organizing for America’s Health Care Reform Video Challenge.  We’re happy to announce that our video we’re one of the 20 Finalists!  You can check out our video and the other great finalists here.  You can also rate your favorite videos, and the winner will be aired to promote Health Care Reform. Your vote only counts is you rate all twenty videos, so set aside 10 minutes to vote for your favorite.  And if your favorite happened to be ours, that’s be great. Though not as great as comprehensive Health Care Reform.

Credit where it’s due

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Now’s probably a good time for a few thank yous regarding our Finalist video.  The first is to Linda Orr, who I deny burger care to in this video, for being in our project on very short notice. The second is Vincent Lacey, who collaborated with us on the idea but was sadly unavailable to flip burgers the day we shot.  Finally is Budacki’s Drive-In for letting us shoot there.  I was lucky enough to live up the street from Budacki’s a few years back, and this project was a great excuse to get back there and have one of their delicious burgers.  If you find yourself in Ravenswood craving something tasty, check them out.  Hopefully everyone who helped us out will be paid in Health Care Reform.

The wages of Film Racing

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…is having to ask people to vote for your film. Doesn’t roll off the tongue, does it?

Regardless, the top films from the 2009 Chicago Film Race are online, and voting is open for the online audience award.  Vote Here, if you’re so inclined, for our animated zombie musical The Never Did Blues.

Update:Voting Closed. Thanks!

Health Care or Bust

We made a video this weekend to help President Obama’s dark and sinister plan to try to make the American Health Care system as good as every other developed nation’s.

The Making of “Moving Forward”

Baby’s First Mockumentary

The genre of “Mockumentary” was randomly assigned to us by the 48-hour Film Project, at around 7:00 pm on the evening of Friday July 24th. We then had until 7:30 pm Sunday July 26th to write, shoot, and edit our first mockumentary film.

Jeremy was out of town that weekend, so the writing fell to chris and I. But since we both had improv shows that evening we decided it was probably best to stay out drinking and leave the brainstorming to the next day when we were nice and hungover.

And so it was that roundabouts noon on Saturday we came to the realization that mockumentaries don’t need to be written. They’re improvised! We were off the hook! But every good mockumentary relies on a clever premise, so we began casting about for one of those. As we often do when pressed to be creative we turned to ideas we’d come up with in the past, back when we were young and less hungover. We have accumulated several good ideas scrawled on yellow legal pads over the years, but the one that gradually presented itself as most appropriate for this project was an idea concerning “The Unspeakable Adventures of Lewis and Clark,” a sort of documentary expose uncovering the covert activities of Lewis and Clark as secret steampunk government agents.

Unfortunately, much of that hilarious premise we quickly deemed unfilmable within the time constaints of 48 hours. But by that time Mr. Dan Granata had arrived to help brainstorm and the three of us gradually came around to the idea of Lewis and Clark reenacters, which seemed to fit the major criteria of mockumentary premise: pretty funny, but not utterly absurd.

In the past we’ve semi-unconsciously shied away from doing a mockumentary. I suspect this is because in the circles in which we run (i.e. the improv circles) mockumentary films are fairly common. A script is not required, and the whole thing can be shot cheaply and literally “from the hip” (our camera is heavy, and hips make for good resting places and interesting angles). For a mockumentary to work the biggest single requirement is a cast of hilarious people who can be believable and extemporaneous on camera. And so with about 30 hours left on the clock, we contacted our good friends: funny man and frequent collaborator Adam Schwartz, and excellent improviser Dorrie Ferguson, who also happens to be Chris’s girlfriend. That’s not why she got the part, mind you. That’s just why she TOOK the part.

Dorrie and Adam joined Dan to complete our improviser cast, and Chris and I turned our thoughts to the actual, time-constrained, production of this bad boy. More on that in a future post!

Let’s talk.

Here’s where we’ll talk about making movies and working as a small video production company in Chicago.  Check here for behind-the-scenes looks at our creative process, post-production deconstruction, and general musings concerning exactly how awesome it is to be us.

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