You’re a life saver!

I saw The Sandlot earlier this weekend and it was okay. I mean, it’s a cute film that’s fun for the whole family… unless your family is made up entirely of middle-aged guys, in which case it’s probably just okay. But there was one scene that was really cringe-worthy for me. Why? Because the movie was made in 1993, which is after I passed my lifeguard certification for the first time.

In that cringe-worthy scene, a young kid jumps into the deep end of a swimming pool without knowing how to swim. The lifeguard dives from her chair into the pool (she hit the water at a bit of a sideways angle, so I’d give it a 6.5), swims down to the bottom, drags the kid up, gets the help of another lifeguard to pull him out of the water, then lies him down next to the pool and immediately starts doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

My brain immediately began to hurt. Like, way worse than when I see someone on TV giving CPR and bending their elbows. It’s a necessity for TV, given that if you’re doing CPR properly with straight arms and your shoulders above their chest, there’s a distinct possibility that you’re going to break some ribs. Costars don’t like it when you break their ribs. Go figure.

But mouth-to-mouth immediately… the first thing you should do is put your ear over the person’s mouth and “look, listen and feel”: look at chest rising for breathing, listen for breathing, feel air against your ear for breathing. If it turns out the kid is already breathing, sit back and appreciate the fact that you didn’t completely botch your landing in the water. If you don’t sit back—if he’s holding his breath and you blow into his mouth—you just gave him a set of ruptured lungs. But at least you saved his life for a couple moments before you went and killed him yourself, right?

“He’s still rolling! He’s always rolling!”

Many, many moons ago (back in 2007), I helped a friend of mine named Jeremy Gustafson make a movie called “Harry Putter and the Sorcerer’s Phone”. It was kinda like the first Harry Potter movie, but way better. Unless you look at the ratings on the Putter IMDb page. Then you’ll see that out of 60 people, a lot of them have really bad taste in movies. 3.5 out of 10? Hah! (The entire movie is posted there if you want to judge for yourselves. I guess that’s an option when it’s less than 14 minutes long.)

My first day on set was at the “broom store” and I was expecting to be part of the crew: use the slate, hold the boom mic, stuff like that. I ended up doing a lot more because the guy who was cast as the broom store clerk never showed. Well, Jeremy had a robe for me to wear, gave me a couple minutes to look at the script and find my motivation for delivering my only line, then the camera started rolling. And it kept rolling. And rolling. And rolling. And rolling.

One of the fun things about Jeremy directing movies is that he waits a very long time before saying “Cut.” That leads to a lot of bloopers, random behind-the-scenes footage, a bunch of improvised lines… enough material that he ended up making an outtakes reel that was over an hour long. That’s right, over four times longer than the film itself. As you would imagine, that isn’t posted on the movie’s IMDb page.

However, he recently started putting together a recut version of the outtakes reel (which includes several minutes of footage from the broom store) and posted Part 1 on his Vimeo page a couple days ago. My understanding is that Vimeo has limits on the amount of data you can upload within a given time, so only the first part is currently available. I’m looking forward to Part 2 as well, but if you want to check out my wide array of salesmanship skillz (or lack thereof), what’s posted is what you want to watch. Jeremy and I both hope you enjoy!

ADDENDUM: Part 2 is live! Jeremy posted both parts on his blog and included commentary about putting them together, so for some additional insight on the movie and its creation, you can click on the link and read it there.

People’s lips don’t do that in the movies!

I went out to see Red Dawn with some friends on Friday night (thus, yesterday’s last-minute blog entry) and came away with some new-found knowledge that you all might find interesting.

First off, it’s a remake of a movie originally produced in 1984. Back then, the U.S. was invaded by Russians. This time around, it’s the North Koreans. The original version of the remake made China the bad guys, but that was changed shortly before the movie’s release. Why? China was probably like “Hey, don’t make us the bad guys!” and we were like “We’ll do what we want!” and they were like “Don’t make us the bad guys or we’ll sell your country to the highest bidder!” and we were like “Okay, sorry.” (The actual reason is the Chinese likely wouldn’t have released the movie in their country, thereby gashing the production company out of some major profits, so they made the change after all the filming was done.)

That actually made the movie a little more interesting at times. Consider: the invaders wouldn’t bother learning the English language—they let their guns do the talking. Lots and lots of talking. And explosions. There were plenty of explosions, too. But when words were spoken, the movie used subtitles. And since the bad guys were Chinese up until a few months before the movie was released, they were speaking Chinese. When their nationality changed, the movie needed to use voice-overs, too. When Major Badguy starts yelling in the face of Colonel Badguy, you can see that his words don’t match the movement of his lips. With voice-overs and subtitles, I thought it was only a matter of time before troops started pointing to the ocean, yelling, then up pops the subtitle, “GODZILLA IS INVADING CALIFORNIA!!!”

Everyone should take note of this next thing: if people want to kill you, never hide out in a place with only one exit. That’s common sense, really. I mean, if Godzilla ever did invade California and sent a burst of atomic flame breath into the opening of your hideout, it’ll only be a second before you won’t have any lips left for proper voice-overs.

The last bit of knowledge only came because we stayed through the credits. When those were done and the lights came up, I put my jacket on, turned around and saw a couple in the back row that… well, they didn’t realize the credits were over. They never moved as we left the theater and I warned the usher waiting outside that there was a couple in the back row that… well, they didn’t realize the credits were over. We stood outside as he went in and a minute later, two teenagers indignantly stormed out through the door. When he came back out, the usher informed us that it’s extremely awkward to tell people with their lips locked together that the movie is done.

Not-So-Safe House

I saw the movie Safe House recently and thought it was pretty cool (assuming you like conspiracies, car chases and people getting shot at). However, there was a confrontation with a bad guy that… well, the person who was watching the movie with me didn’t see exactly what happened. This blog entry is a spoiler, so you may want to skip reading it until you’ve seen the movie. Or if you’re not going to see it because you don’t like conspiracies, car chases and people getting shot at. Continue reading “Not-So-Safe House”

Valor’s Kids is awesome!

And not just because I have a tiny role in the movie! (Mind you, it’s an animated film and I’m the voice of Viper Soldier 2, but still…)

Valor’s Kids is being screened on Thursday evening, which means I can’t be there because of school. However, I figure if I promote the movie on here, maybe I can get a couple people to take my place. It’s being done as a fundraiser for The WaZoo! Show, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with this mission statement:

The WaZoo! Show’s mission is to produce original video-based comedy shows for the general public while providing a fun and creative opportunity for members’ professional growth in the areas of writing, directing, editing, acting and post-production.

I’ve been a member for nine or ten years and it’s been a blast, but I don’t want to get off-track here. Part of the reason for the screening is to benefit WaZoo!; tickets are $5 apiece and $2 of that goes directly to the show (i.e., that amount is tax deductible).

And did I mention that the director is 15 years old? Hmmm… nope, doesn’t look like I did, so I’m mentioning it now. Kai Mariah started the project waaaaay back when she was 12 and put on the finishing touches earlier this year. I guess that between ages 12 and 15, you sometimes find things you want to change and/or improve upon. Go figure.

So if you’ve got 93 spare minutes and five bucks for a ticket (they’re only accepting cash) at 7:00pm this Thursday, November 10th, please honor Kai with your presence at the Plaza Maplewood Theater. Here’s the address with a link to Google Maps—you can get specific driving directions from there:

Plaza Maplewood Theater
1847 East Larpenteur
Maplewood, MN 55109

Title: Valor’s Kids
Time: 7:00pm start
Cost: $5 per ticket ($2 tax-deductible)
Why: Because it’s awesome

Oh, and if you’ve got a Facebook account, there’s an event notice that covers pretty much everything I’ve mentioned here. I wish I could see a bunch of you there, but since I’ll be in the middle of class, I hope Kai sees a bunch of you there instead.

Do not taunt The Social Network

An old SNL sketch (Happy Fun Ball) popped into my head when I started writing this. Watch it and you’ll understand the title.

I watched The Social Network last night because my Accounting professor recommended it during a discussion about common stock. It was a good and somewhat creepy movie. At the end, the guy playing Mark Zuckerberg proclaims, “I’m not the bad guy.” I’m not entirely convinced, in part because he’s the leader of the evil empire commonly known as Facebook.

So as I was having this internal debate about whether Mark Zuckerberg is a major asshole, I decided to log onto the admin page here and look at some stuff. It wouldn’t load. Why not? I hadn’t written anything about his shitty behavior in the movie yet, but he decided to hack the network and preemptively shut down my blog anyway. What an asshole.