My Victoria Film Fest Winning Video

February 12, 2009

So here is my winning video for the 2009 Victoria Film Festival’s MyVictoria competition. Below the video is a clip from the A Morning news program where they aired the clip on Tuesday. As you’ll see at the end of the news clip, my video had a pretty profound impact on host Astrid Braunschmidt!

And now the A News clip. Unfortunately they had some audio problems at the beginning–and even throughout the entire video.


Whopper Freakout Freakin’ Funny

January 8, 2008

Check out Whopper Freakout. Funny stuff! I noticed the TV commercials recently and decided to check it out, especially since it’s from Burger King and I still remember the great Subservient Chicken campaign of a few years ago. It’s a great short doc about spoofing customers by telling them they no longer serve the Whopper. I have no emotional connection whatsoever to Burger King–or any fast-food outlet, come to think of it–but for the people they managed to catch of video, this news really hit home. It’s interesting how Burger King has used rude chickens and a low-quality video spoof to differentiate itself from McDonald’s. When I think McD’s I think family, cartoon characters, the Happy Meal! I don’t think they would try something quite like what BK has done since it doesn’t fit their brand. But for BK, they can take more risks. Though interestingly, as a couple of the guys in the video point out, BK may have the elements of a more down-home marketing approach if they wanted to explore that. One guy talks about the right of passage eating a Whopper was growing up–when he was finally able to finish one, that’s when he knew he was a man (seriously)–while another started waxing poetic about driving to another state 30 years ago just to get a Whopper. Classic.

Sopranos – Cut to Black

June 13, 2007

In truly dramatic fashion, HBO’s long-running series, The Sopranos, has finally come to an end.

A lot of people are upset about the ending–the now famous cut to black as Tony looks up at the restaurant’s opening door. I’ve watched the episode twice now and while I was just as caught off guard as everyone else watching on Sunday night, with a little bit of time to let the episode sink in–plus the advantage of one additional viewing–I think the ending is perfect.

However, not wanting to add to the growing mass of Sopranos critiques, the point I really want to make here is about the use and power of the black screen.

The Sopranos was a very visually appealing show. Great sets, lush environments, hair, makeup and outfits to feast your eyes upon. Visuals weren’t wasted. So, when David Chase decided to end the episode and the entire series with a quick cut to black, you know he was taking the move seriously. I don’t believe for a second, as some have suggested, that this decision shows he doesn’t care about the audience. Rather, I think it suggests he gives his audience a little more credit.

There were countless ways Chase could have wrapped things up, but by moving to blackness we’re left with quite possibly the most enduring image of the entire series. Think about it: after six seasons of watching Tony and his crew inflict all sorts of harm, after watching them linger in the Bing while strippers sway in the background, after they traveled to famous locations like Italy, after all this, what people are most talking about and what people will likely remember most poignantly is a black screen. A black screen.

The black screen has power. Not only in the context of the expectations heaped upon this final episode, but in that by presenting viewers with nothing their focus becomes very sharp. The clutter is taken out of the equation. People stop and take notice. Everything that they’ve carried with them up to that moment is suddenly condensed to a pinpoint. And, sometimes, they may even hold their breath.