Distend your jaws, my serpent children, and swallow whole this new offering from Rock TV!
The original pitch for this project was that it would be a short, simple, self-deprecating video. The pastors would rebuke Rock TV for our recent output, we assure them that we’ve got the message, and then proceed to deliver an inexplicable, dark video that alienates all. The writers seemed to like the general idea, and to my recollection, spent much of the first two meetings going over various ideas for the alienating portion of the video that didn’t make it into the final cut. After we were able to get a little meat on the bones and knock out a draft that was starting to look interesting, I contacted Jeromy Darling (one of the founders of our ministry) to see if he’d be interested in playing himself as one of the leaders at the Rock. At this point, the video changed quite a bit.
Jeromy wrote me an email with a dozen great, bizarre joke ideas that made him look like an arrogant weirdo that were quickly incorporated in the script. Furthermore, when we arrived at the shoot, Jeromy kept the strange ideas coming (the best example of this was the bit where he insists we drink the camel’s milk concoction). It was all twisted and hilarious, but the run time for that meeting scene eventually stretched to the 4 minute mark. This is obviously too long, but the editing team liked it all so much we just decided to roll with it and include 90% of the stuff we shot.
As for the two videos-within-the-video, I’m supremely fond of both. The Banana Reads Minds, the dark “art film” was shot mostly without my involvement. Melissa Johnson did an awesome job capturing the awful strangeness of such films and creating something as close to being Kubrickian as we’ve ever done. (Incidentally, that’s my son Oliver running past the screen at the end). The other short film, “Applied Proverbs”, made me laugh hysterically as I edited it alone in my basement on a Saturday night. It was not me at my most sophisticated, but there’s just something about that moment where the guy riding that huge dumpster gets his head smashed by the overhang – how exactly was that intended to end up?
In short, there’s a bunch of gags and bits that I love in this one. The flaws, as I see them, are that it goes on a little too long and it doesn’t really have a point. If there is a point, it’s that nobody seems to know how to really make a video that truly works (which is more or less true).
-While we were shooting, I couldn’t get through Jeromy saying “It’s awful” with a straight face. There’s just something so off-putting about it that I can’t get over.
-Blaming my co-leader Ryan Pickett for the ministry’s recent weirdness was a bit of an in-joke, but it got a big laugh at the Rock. Ryan’s more popular than we thought, I guess.
-There was initially more stuff going on between Will (playing a dim junior partner) and myself (the beleaguered veteran), but much of it was dropped in the later drafts of the script and in editing as the video became more about us being put upon by these really strange guys.
-Will asking me if I’ve ever tried Big Red gum is the exact kind of line that I love. Nobody else really cares for it, but since I get the final edit, it’s in there.