December 11, 2004

Hooray for Filmmaking: Part 3; A.K.A. Your Daily Dose of Incoherent Ramblings

NOTE: This post is extremely long, but you should read the whole thing for 3 reasons:

1. I have to study for finals, so I probably won't be posting much for the next few days.
2. I'm trying to develop my comedy writing skills for next semester, which will manifest itself in my blogging, starting now.
3. My writing is just that freakin' good. No explanations needed.

On to the post. Seriously, read it. It's all the free ice cream you're going to get for a while.

Wow. I just sat through 2 hours of student films, followed by 2.5 hours of HillTV productions. I'm a little exhausted. But since this blog seems to be slowly transforming into a LiveJournal (minus the unreadable fonts, omnipresent emoticons, and quasi-suicidal poetry..."OMG, I D3V0UR T3H D@RKN355 @ND 5H1T 0UT T3H 5H@D0WZ! LOL!"), allow me to tell the fascinating story of my Friday night.

I began my evening with a rain-soaked journey down to the Carrier Dome so I could return my marching band uniform. Yeah, the band is going to Orlando in a couple weeks to play at the Champs Sports Bowl, but...f**k that. It's Christmas vacation, not a friggin' field trip. Marching band ends after final exams in my world. Besides, I almost died of dehydration last time I was in Orlando (literally; I thought I was going to drop dead in the middle of the Magic Kingdom), thanks to that friggin' cartoon Communist Mickey Mouse and his ridiculously overpriced bottled water. I'd rather not bring back those memories.

Anyway, there was nobody in the Dome other than the basketball team, so I dropped off my uniform in the equipment room and got the crap out of there. After that, it was time for another fun-filled walk through the pouring December rain as I ventured down to Newhouse for the big event: The final screening of fiction projects made by students in Tula Goenka's TRF 255 class. Good times.

The premiere started out with pizza and cake. Yay. Everyone ate pizza and cake and was very happy and full and ready for movies. And then bunnies danced on rainbows while butterflies sang lullabies into magical marigold microphones. Or some stupid hippy crap like that.

...I don't know where that came from, but I assure you that I have not ingested any illicit substances...although the oregano on that pizza did look a little suspicious... ... ... Dude! I can totally, like, hear the voice of the Milky Way, dude! It's saying..."I'm a galaxy, not a candy bar. Don't try to wrap me in foil, because I'll just set it on fire with my billions of stars!" D00D!!!

...I mentioned that I was exhausted, right? I think I'll go to the extended entry to protect The Children™ from any negative thoughts. Because I care about the youth of this great country.

At 6 PM, it was time for the show to start. There were about 100 people there, half of them being actual students from this class. The rest of the audience was made up of friends, actors, other film students, and probably a couple homeless guys who came for the free pizza.

There were ten films in all (and although they were on digital video, I call them "films" rather than "videos" because "film" is both cooler and shorter), and I had only worked on one of them, so I knew that at least 1/10 of the show would rock, but I was curious about the others. I actually have a program from the event, so I'll summarize each film and give a brief review...which basically means that I'm about to make fun of my peers and their artistic abilities. Which is always entertaining.

1. The Houseguest: This was about a guy who goes on a date, lets the girl come into his house, and then proceeds to watch her take over the place and mess up his stuff. It was decent, and the acting was good, but the screenwriter needed to take out some redundancy. For example:

WUSSY GUY: The room looks so different.
PSYCHOTIC GIRLFRIEND: Oh, I didn't hear you come in.
WUSSY GUY: The room looks...
PSYCHOTIC GIRLFRIEND: You don't have to say it. It looks great!

Actually, he already did say that it looked different. Moron. Other than that, great film.

2. Two Strikes: The log line of this one is "Two college students discover the joy in teamwork when they plan to oust their unusual Resident Advisor." The actual plot was more like "Three film students hatch a plot to show simulated masturbation to an auditorium full of people." Because that's what made the RA in the film "unusual." He was downloading objectionable materials from the Internets, as we could tell by the actor's...facial expressions. And the fact that he was running down the hall with no pants on. Yeah, just be glad you weren't there. It was hilarious, though.

3. The Chokin' Kind: This film was about an extremely effeminate guy (quote: "But you know Friday night is our night!") who still manages to exercise complete control over his girlfriend via a necklace he gave her. But one night, she gets drunk, confesses her hatred of his dominating ways while intoxicated, and throws the necklace away when she sobers up and remembers what happened. Moral of the story: Alcohol will make your life better. Yay, college!

4. The Wedding Date: Plot summary: A girl needs to find a date for a wedding she's been invited to, but her friend keeps setting her up with crazy guys who enjoy eating fake leaves, smelling their own shoes, and...biology. Yeah. She rejects one of the guys because he dares to enjoy dissections. The. Horror.

This film was part funny and part "holy crap, make it stop before I poke my own eyes out with a dull spork," but it was kind of entertaining because the lead actress was one of those stereotypical ghetto girls. Example:

GIRL: Hell naw, I ain't goin' out wit' yo crazy-ass friends!

Oh no you di-in't! Testify, sistah friend!

(/white boy from PA trying to sound remotely cool)

5. Physical Challenge: This thing was great. It's a mockumentary about a guy who lost on Double Dare in 1989, and his quest to find Marc Summers and beg him for another chance. He trains by going out in the rain and trying to fill a plastic cup to the red line. There were a lot of great moments, but my favorite line was: "I can't go in that room 'cuz the guys in there will shoot me with paintball guns." It's funnier if you've seen the film, haven't. Ya b@stards.

6. The Gatekeeper: Interesting film. It took elements of It's A Wonderful Life and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to create a story about a guy who dies in a car accident, but doesn't realize it until a guy who looks like Silent Bob tells him what's going on. Good acting, very emotional plot, nice use of music...and they did a transparency effect that I didn't think was possible on our editing equipment. But this is Syracuse, so I guess we get all the good A/V stuff. Heh heh. The only problem was the lapse into bad acting/writing in the big flashback scene:

GIRL: I want you to promise me you'll never forget this moment.
GUY: Okay. I'll never forget.
GIRL: Good!

That's it?! That's what created the eternal bond that couldn't even be broken by death itself? What a douche.

7. Pinochle: This film rocked! It's about a guy who goes into a convenience store to use the bathroom and ends up having a life-changing experience after a robber comes in and starts stealing money and Cow Tales. Also, there was a brief cameo by this awesome guy with a box of Lucky Charms. Man, I wish I could be as cool and handsome as that guy...oh, wait, I am, because that guy was me, and Pinochle was my group's project. I can't tell you any more, because I'm planning on uploading it to the blog. Be ready.

8. Motiveless Crime: Basic story: A jealous guy thinks his girlfriend is having an affair with his ambiguously homosexual best friend, so he steals the guy's inhaler, causing him to die of an acute asthma attack. Then the girlfriend dies when she gets distracted while driving and collides with the ambulance that was coming to get the asthmatic guy. You'll notice that I just told the whole story in a couple sentences, but this group apparently felt it necessary to show the emotions of the "murderer" through a montage of about six quadrillion extreme close-ups and shots of him pacing around his room. Wow, how exciting. Also, this contained more sloppy writing:

REPORTER: Two Windham Hall residents were involved in fatal incidences that may be related.

"Incidences?" "INCIDENCES?" Who the f**k says that? Sometimes, I really think our children isn't learning.

9. The Unconscious Reconsidered: Odd story by some students who apparently set out to give the audience a seizure. It's about a guy who falls asleep while studying for a philosophy exam about premonitions (wow, no foreshadowing there). He then has a weird dream where his friend is about to get hit by a car, and the editors show that they know how to use the video effects in Final Cut Pro. Remember that seizure thing?

The next morning, the guy is walking to class when he suddenly realizes that everything around him is the same as in the dream. He tells his friend that something bad is going to happen, but the friend mocks him by running out into the middle of the street. The guy then tries to stop his friend and is almost hit by a car in the process. The screenwriter used the "Pound It Into Their Heads" technique to emphasize his main point:

DREAM GUY: I told you something was going to happen.
FRIEND: Did you really know it was going to happen, or did you make it happen?

Remember, kids: Unrealistic dialogue gives kittens cancer. I don't think you want that. And if you do...then you're a sick, sick person.

Oh, and the shirtless guy was in this one. He played the dream guy's roommate, and once again, he appeared without a shirt. I worry about people sometimes.

10. The Sweater: A college student receives a crappy sweater as a gift from her grandma, so she throws it out the window, and a blatant ripoff of the crackhead from "Chappelle's Show" catches it. However, trouble arises when the girl finds out that her grandma is coming to visit and wants to know if she likes her gift. The girl is then forced to track down the crackhead and convince him to give the sweater back, which she does by buying him a $400 leather jacket. Unfortunately, her grandma calls again to tell her that she sent the wrong box (it was supposed to contain cookies), and she should just "throw that old rag out the window." When she does this (again), the crackhead catches it (again). OH, SNAP!

After this, there was a big round of applause, assorted congratulations, and other revelry. Also, Professor Goenka forced me to give her a hug before I left. I was actually surprised by this, considering she's a kool-aid liberal, and I wore a Bush/Cheney sticker to her class on Election Day. Hmm. Maybe I should check to make sure she didn't plant some kind of neocon tracker on me. On the other hand, she is the professor who said "not all Republicans are evil." I guess I'm one of the good ones or something.

Following the TRF event of the semester, I headed over to the student center for the HillTV Entertainment Department screening. That's right: Another couple hours of watching student-produced material. I freakin' love this school. And I'm not being sarcastic. SU is proof that dreams can come true.

Anyway, I walked down to the Jabberwocky Café for the screening, where Suzy, our entertainment director, was making people take raffle tickets. We had an interesting exchange:

CD: Hey, Suzy.
SUZY: You grew a beard.
CD: Yes I did.

I haven't mentioned that I'm growing a beard again, have I? Well, see for yourself! Syracuse = cold, and facial hair = warmth. Do the math...wait, I just did the math. Never mind.

I took my raffle tickets (more on that later), found a seat, and waited around looking cool for a few minutes while other people showed up. The screening started with Over the Hill, the SU version of the Daily Show. They screened the episode where they made fun of Chancellor Cantor ("Chancy Nancy"), so it was fun to watch.

After this, Suzy held the first raffle, and lo and behold, I friggin' won an authentic script from Charmed (Season 4 - Episode 16: "The Fifth Halliwheel"). Woo. Hoo.

Next up was Null and Void, the insanely funny sketch comedy show that I technically work for, but don't get credit for because I never go to the meetings. This was an awesome show centered around "Country Cat," a cat who sells corn and locks people in a dungeon/kills them outright if they refuse to buy it. I don't know where they come up with these things, but I do know that marijuana is often involved (believe me, I've seen it). Again, let's hear it for college.

The third show on the agenda was Syracuse Live. If you don't know what this show is by now, please start paying more attention to my posts. Anyway, as I was watching, I realized something: Syracuse Live is the black sheep of HillTV. This friggin' show is so unprofessional and lame, it's embarrassing. But I'm staying with it, because I feel that it's my responsibility to somehow help improve the show. I don't know why I feel that way, but I do. Fixer-uppers can become successful with a little hard work...and possibly new hosts who can deliver a decent monologue and conduct an interview without saying "like" ten times per sentence.

Finally, we watched Syracuse After Hours. This is a talk/sketch comedy show that uses a lot of pseudo-improvisation and cruel humor. Also, this particular episode featured the writer/director of "Pinochle" as a wine-peddling Jesus Christ. Yeah, that's hilarious. I have to work with these people. On the other hand, they made fun of other religions as well (and Kwanzaa), particularly by referring to a dreidel as a "Jew spinner." And the host of the show is Jewish. I don't even know what to think anymore...

After this, I walked back to my dorm and got to watch drunk Chimps violating quiet hours. One guy was falling-down drunk. He literally fell down because he was so drunk. I love my floor. Really.

Anyway, you know what happened after that. I typed this entry, and then you read it and marveled at my command of the English language. Fear me, for I shall destroy you with literary genius.

And with that, I will descend into the depths of the hell known as "studying for final exams." Later, loyal VRWC minions.

Posted by CD on December 11, 2004 02:33 AM
Category: TRF (TV, Radio, & Film)
Semi-Intelligent Comments

Hm. You still have a ways to go before comedy genius is achieved, but at least you aren't talking about suicide.

Posted by: Al at December 11, 2004 04:44 PM
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