Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ramsey Bros. Rapid Script to Screen Process

So, here's a quick run down on how Ramsey Bros. Pictures' latest short, "Baby Attack Ad," went from script to [Youtube] screen in a matter of 5 days...

Thursday, Oct 28th, John emails:
I don't suppose you have time to put together a political attack ad against babies if I wrote one up this weekend?
Friday, Oct 29th, I respond:
"Possibly. I'm at saicff until Sunday, which is ________'s bday as you know. Maybe I could do it Monday and release it Tuesday."
Saturday, Oct 30th, John emails:
"Here is a draft. I didn't spend a lot of time on the stage directions, but i am kind of thinking you will do whatever you can think of on those. in other words, i'm hoping you will take over on that. i put some stuff just for kicks, but that's all you unless you need me to think about it more. the bottom line is -- you know what an attack ad looks like and that's what's supposed to look like.

the very, very last part might be over the top. overall, i think this is doable and funny. i hope it's not confusing to read. i'd be curious to know if you can do it."
The attached script (click to enlarge):

I respond:
This is good and I think I can do it. I think it needs at least two more jokes... One really specific to babies and one ridiculously hyperbolic attack on a political issue...they want tax cuts for the rich, cut Medicaid...something.
He adds:
"K. will add tomorrow, which will probably tonight while you are sleeping. I thought it was about 30 seconds so I stopped.

Potential inclusions so far:

'Open your eyes, BABIES'
'They think toddlers should be tried as adults.'
'The only soft spot they have is in their skull.'
'Their isolationist view would have us cut ties with our allies and weaken our economic diplomacy with rogue nations.'

But your thoughts welcome."
Monday, Nov 1st: Driving in my car, I nearly pick up the phone to tell John I'm too busy to do the ad.

5 minutes later: I begin saying the lines to myself in my attack ad voice...and laughing. Yes, I'm that dorky. Then I think, "If I don't do it now, I'll never do it. So, I'll do it."

90 minutes later: I record my voice in the City on a Hill Productions sound room. Using a Final Cut Pro audio filter, I pitch down my vocals for the sinister "attack ad voice" and pitch my vocals up for the "Paid for by..." line. I edit it down to thirty seconds...requiring me to cut the jokes I had suggested...and, as you can see, some jokes that were in the original script.

That afternoon (while the sun is up): I film on a Sony EX3 and take still photos like this one with a Nikon:

The above photo, eventually becomes this segment (after color correction, and blurred vignette):

I also send John a link to just the audio. His response:
"Pretty awesome. This is going to be so, so weird. I would only say that I think we should call it 'Baby Attack Ad for 'Attack Ad Against Babies' [instead of "Bath Watergate"] for intrigue, searchability and relevance to what's going on. Description something to the effect of: 'You can make anything sound bad with an attack ad.'

Also given this audio, I think the PP thing is pretty crucial to the joke. Because all of a sudden, it's like they are really trying to get babies out of Washington, not that we are using babies as a substitute for a political candidate (although, clearly that is going on, too).

I'm headed to bed"
FYI: John is in Kenya, which is seven hours ahead of me.

That evening (while watching the Houston Texans lose) and early into the next morning, I edit.

John and I confer over exactly how to handle the "Paid for by..." tag at the end, and reach an agreement.

Nov. 2nd, 9:55pm ET: "Baby Attack Ad" is released.