We’re two short weeks away from Christmas and it sure is starting to get ugly out there. This weekend, I found myself INSIDE a mall. It was terrible. There were people and decorations and people and Santa Claus’ and people. Lots of people.
And the parking lot -- can I get an oy vey or would that be too cliché?
It should go without saying -- but yes, I’ll say it anyway -- I don’t care for Christmas. Or any other holiday, for that matter. The entire exercise of forced and fake joy and happiness strikes me as excessively forced and fake. I can’t help it. Maybe it’s the Jew in me, but I find nothing merry about fighting over parking spaces and pretending you actually like those cheesy boxed gifts that usually involve some kind of miniaturized game. Which is why, many years ago, I celebrated my first Devilmas with Josh Todd. At the time, I lived in Naples, so I came up to Orlando to hang with Josh for a few days. We were both in between relationships, so we spent the days doing what best of friends do: drinking and watching zombie flicks.
Thus was the first Devilmas. There were a few cool things born from that moment of time. Devilmas, of course. The script for “Our Zombie Holiday, pt. 1”. The story for a still unfinished children’s novel about a boy and his trash can (“BORC-9”).
And of course, everything Devilmas-related that’s been produced since.
This year, the legacy continues in a big way.
The Devilmas theme song was actually produced towards the end of 2010, but we held on to it so that we could release the music video in the heart of the Devilmas Season 2011 (October 31 through December 31). When it came time to start working on the video this year -- aside from the desire to see it done, we didn’t really know how to pull it off (“we” being myself, Matt, and Chris).
Matt and I eventually decided that the best way to do Devilmas was the way we do everything: outsourcing. But don’t let the idea of leaning on the community of Krumbination fool you into thinking that this simplified the job for me and Matt.
The easy parts of the video were Matt’s performance footage (I LOVED the material from inside the train, how he stuck the camera on the tripod and held the tripod, moving it around with him) and Chris’ footage (shot on a greenscreen and matched to the plate that Matt shot in Utah).
After that, it was all uphill.
Fortunately, Eric Morrison contributed the “Bad Christmas” segment which knocked a small chunk out of the video. Ryan Johnson provided titles for the opening, which, intercut with footage from our resident Baptist minister and PHd student, proved to be the perfect prologue.
I think I posted this on Facebook and I was totally serious: this project took the better part of a month to edit. Not only is it the longest music video I’ve cut, but every single shot has some kind of effect on it.
The Devilmas music video is the definition of a labor of love. It’s been a long time coming -- years in the making! -- and the joy I feel is not only due to finally having this off my plate, but that we now have such a beautiful realization and tribute of the Devilmas Season.
Next year: greeting cards.
Love me, like me, share me!
Shortly after nailing down my Beanie Boy rapping persona, I realized I had a secret weapon that no one else in The Great Devilmas Beat-Off of 2011 could touch: swag. Namely, a black cap that has “BEANIE BOY” embroidered on it.
Of course, being the relentless, competitive beast that I am, I decided that as powerful as my swag was, it wasn’t enough. So I decided to unleash another secret weapon. A friend from years past, Jeff Johnson aka DJ D003Y D3C1MAL was down for a little collab. Little did he know that my idea for our round 4 rap would basically have him doing all the work.
Little did I know (okay, I kinda did) that this “work” is a walk in the park for DJ D003Y.
Not counting Jeff’s writing time, this video took a day to shoot and cut. I had the genius idea to shoot outside and the even better idea of not telling Jeff -- by the time he finally got to my place, the sun was quickly setting. So, saving my berating of Jeff’s punctuality for later, we raced through the song a couple of times and I did my best to patch the lighting inconsistencies in post.
All in all, I’m proud of Scroll Back. Jeff is immensely talented and it goes without saying that I am not a rapper or even a particularly good musician. There was a little backlash about such a collaboration being against the rules, but I quickly pointed out that The Great Devilmas Beat-Off has no rules.
In short, we stepped it up in a dramatic and unexpected way. And that’s what being creative is all about.
Of course, the co-progenitor of the Beat-Off would have none of this. And while he’s usually pretty quick with the turnaround, it was barely 24 hours after Scroll Back dropped that Rob released his new rap and initiated Round 5.
And holy shit, Rob stepped it up in a huge way. There isn’t a good way to say this without making it sound like Rob’s four previous raps were garbage, but this fifth one is a diamond. It shines. It’s beautiful. It’s geniously crafted. It finally makes me feel like I’m in a competition.
So really, with a second entry pending from Anna and new entries forthcoming from Tim, Eric, and even Middlebrook, who stands a chance at winning the grand prize?
Watch ALL of The Great Devilmas Beat-Off of 2011 videos here!
Love me, like me, share me!
Here at Horbawrong Studios, we (I) are (am) fans of creative people doing creative things. Which is why when friend of the Studio, Eric Morrison, posted a new video, I found myself filled with the glee of a thousand high school glee club members.
In the description, Eric calls the video (“Of Mice and Men”) his attempt at Mr. Bean-like entertainment. I was never much a fan of Mr. Bean, but I have a deep appreciation for silent filmmaking, and that is, conceptually, what Eric was doing with this video.
There’s a beautiful art to silence and conveying a story with no words. Which is undoubtedly what makes Charlie Chaplin one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Is Eric’s video on par with the great Chaplin? Eric’s video is probably more visually dynamic than much of Chaplin’s work (one of Eric’s innate talents is his sense of visual composition and pacing). I admit that the video feels weak on the ending -- a bit of a soft landing when I was expecting a hard crash. But the journey was still enjoyable.
More important, as the Beat-Off has demonstrated, it’s vital to stretch our creative muscles in ways we usually don’t. It’s fertilization for our muses and fresh mulch for our ideas to grow in. Eric’s video was an exercise and the only failure would have been not to do it in the first place.
So what’s next, Eric?
Love me, like me, share me!
Today’s Video of the Day -- along with being fresh material from the House of Horbawrong -- delves into an on-going struggle I have in writing material for shows like krumbinesBRAIN. (Shows like krumbinesBRAIN: WEBCAMS, Talking Heads, ad nauseam.)(PS: Have you seen the new krumbinesBRAIN index here on horbawrong.com? Every single episode in one place for your enjoyment. You're welcome.)
“Conflicting Narrative Structures” addresses the fact that I like to employ SOME kind of narrative structure to my shows. Like the video says: I’ve used brotherly love (many, many times -- thanks, Jason!), relationships, holidays (hello, Devilmas!), and religion. Emphasis on religion.
(I mention Beanyism in the video which is a reference to the Beanie Boy Show -- but episodes that pre-date the published ones here on horbawrong.com. Yes, I am THAT pathetic, referencing material that technically doesn’t even exist online.)
Ultimately, it’s an interesting quandary. I need SOMETHING to write about but when you get right down to it, very little time within krumbinesBRAIN is spent in narrative -- in other words, we don’t move forward in any kind of recognizable story because I spend too much time arguing with myself. So I’d like to say big things are on the table for Krumbinism, but I’ve already written the next three episodes and my new religion is hardly mentioned. Is that good? Well, when you see the next episodes, you’ll probably think so, yes.
But if I can’t nail down a narrative structure, is krumbinesBRAIN relatable or enjoyable? Or is the whole point to strive for perfection (a narrative) and constantly fall short (the actual neurosis I live with)?
My goal with krumbinesBRAIN right now is to put more of my inner machinations on YouTube. I know, intellectually, that having some kind of narrative structure to drape them on can only help in the long (and short) runs, but I wonder if that’s even being true to the inner machinations in the first place.
Love me, Like Me, Share Me,
I was sick yesterday. Lost two hours of work to a fever. I couldn't warm up and then, predictably, late at night I couldn’t cool off. I felt like I was two steps away from the long, dark sleep … an ironic turn of events since I had a mandatory open enrollment meeting for healthcare the next day.
Of course, there’s always one solid alternative to the long, dark sleep -- an alternative that I actually wouldn’t be too opposed to. Yep, that’s right, I’d be happy to join the ranks of the undead. I can’t imagine it being all that bad. It’s a simpler life. You’re immune to pain and common disease. You’re free to basically do whatever you want.
Which brings us to Today’s Video of the Day. It’s “a WEBCAMS Devilmas, part I: A Zombie’s Life for Me”. This is what we were doing last year, this time, and with Christmas invading more and more of our daily lives, now is an appropriate time for a little dose of undead.
It’s the first day of the last month and it’s getting cold in Orlando! On a completely unrelated note: I sleep so much better when it’s cold out; it’s immensely refreshing.
Today’s Video of the Day -- judging by her view count -- is likely one you’ve already seen. Yes, we’re (conveniently) returning to THE GREAT DEVILMAS BEAT-OFF OF 2011 in order to showcase the second entry into the fourth round battle. No, not from Double B or The Cashew, but from a new contender: Anna M!
(Don’t worry, we’ll work on your rapping name, Anna. Plus, the bar is set pretty low when Rob’s rapping name is “Rob”.)
Not to ruin the illusion or anything, but Anna’s video wasn’t that much a surprise. At least not for me or Rob. It was after I finished writing my lyrics for Beanie Bounced when, while we were chatting (during The Horbawrong Show taping, actually) we had the idea to call Anna out. The reason was simple: she hadn’t posted anything brilliantly creative lately and inspired by our own creative stretches, we wanted to see how she would fair in a rap.
The thing is, while our collective raps have varied in challenges, what ISN’T difficult is starting, and that’s what Anna did rather perfectly here. I don’t think her video is perfect but then I can lay some pretty harsh criticisms against both Rob and my own freshman raps. Point is, now that she’s in the game, just wait to see what she does with her next video.
And she better crank up her sexy-game, cause Beanie Boy be bringing it.