A comedy radio piece I wrote & co-produced for the Stanford Storytelling Project. A story about pain, healing, wild dogs, and margaritas.Read More
May 10th, 1863
To My Beloved Nathaniel,
I yearn for the day we win this damned war against the Union and you are returned home to me. Each day I miss you more than I thought possible. I fear that my poor heart will fairly explode from the longing I feel.
I realize you are quite busy protecting the Confederacy, but I received your most recent letter and was surprised by its brevity. It read simply, “Yo. You up?”
I asked daddy if it might be some sort of secret code, in case the Union intercepts the mail. He just said, “Oh, it’s code, all right” and took to cleaning his gun.
I for one am pleased to tell you that yes, I am “up,” though we often turn in early as we are conserving lamp oil for the war. I wait eagerly for your next letter.
All my love,
September 22nd, 1863:
My Desperately Adored Nathaniel,
The days we remain apart drag ever on, and the nights even more so. I did receive your last, extremely terse communique, in which you wrote, “Send a pic.”
I apologize for my tardiness in complying, but the only portrait artist daddy could find was wounded in Antietam and had to re-learn painting with his remaining hand. I hope the cherrywood frame is sturdy enough to bear the travel by horse.
I mentioned to daddy that I might just ask you to send me a “pic” in return, and he immediately took to target practice on our back forty.
All my affection,
January 12th, 1864
My Dearest Nathaniel,
When your delivery came, I nearly fainted: A photograph! An actual battlefield daguerreotype from the man I love!
At least, that’s what daddy says it was. He insisted on looking at it first, whereupon his face turned white and he refused to show it to me. He assured me that such a scientifically accurate rendition of you might be too much for my young heart.
Daddy even offered to return the photo to you himself. Please don’t worry for his safety, darling, for he took both hunting rifles, and that large knife he uses to castrate the mules.
I do hope I’ll see a photograph one day. Isn’t modern technology exciting?
My deepest love, your soon-bride-to-be,
I have a theory that creativity, at its core--stay with me, Internet, almost done--is just putting two things together that you feel like you haven't seen together before. Picasso's cubist portraits. Dickens' epic tale of a lowly orphan. And now, my mix of NBC's "The More You Know" PSAs with WW2 Nazi propaganda. You're welcome, Culture.
We released one of these in the spring as a show teaser, and saved the rest for a fallow period in the KML video production schedule. In a break from our usual release process, we released them first on Funny or Die, one-a-day for a week, to establish more of a presence there. Let's say it worked.
I got to work with many of my favorite KML members on these, including DP Jon Burton, VFX guru Ty Bardi, and of course gifted, funny actors Millie DeBenedet, Calum Grant, and Jon Wolanske, the latter of who stepped in to bail us out of a last-minute casting crisis, killed his role, and then went back to his day job a block away. Like a boss.
I costumed this shoot myself, by the way, driving all over the Bay Area asking wardrobe departments if they had any Nazi uniforms. That's a story in and of itself.
Bless Killing My Lobster for giving me giving me the opportunity to dig my own holes. My latest comedy short was featured in KML's Spring 2013 mainstage show, Killing My Lobster Learns a Lesson. The vid's a parody of college and technical school ads that makes fun of art school as a career choice.This vid could not have been made without the contributions of Francine Torres, a hilarious actress and fantastic theater instructor who actually plays a theater instructor in this vid. She saw the opportunity to give her students some real-world experience, helped us to shoot at her workplace and offered her students as PAs and background players. Two of her students are actually leads in this piece--I'll let you figure out which two. Oh, and I'm in this one, briefly. I forgot to cast the Advertising instructor, and when we got to that scene, I strapped on a froofy scarf and took one for the team. At least I got the hairline right.On a sadder note, this may well be the last project I get to work on with my regular KML production partner, Jonathan Burton, as he's since moved to NYC. Hopefully not!
PS a disclaimer: I have a lot of talented, successful friends who studied art, and there are several good art schools here in San Francisco. But there are one or two that are kind of questionable, and one for-profit university that (and I could be wrong about this) doesn't make its money from tuition so much as from being the #1 real-estate holder in the city. Just saying.
This one is straight-up comedy, folks. Write Club is a monthly reading series held in various cities across the US, my home of San Francisco being one. Here, it's run by Casey Childers and Steven Westdahl, two excellent writers who curate the series.
Each event consists of three matches of two writers apiece. Each writer reads an original seven-minute piece, and the audience judges as to which piece is the "Winner."
Me being me, my pieces tend towards the humorous, none more so than my recent channeling of the legendary Tennessee Williams. If he wrote a 1970s XXX screenplay. No actual swear words but definitely not for young ears.
The clip of the reading is almost worth watching just for Steven Westdahl's announcing of my name.
Thanks to Evan Karp for shooting the video.
Some of my coolest corporate gigs start while I'm doing a standard one--writing site copy, for instance. At some point, the client notices my comedy videos, and wonders if I can do something similarly fun for them. "Social Media And You" was one of those.
IT juggernaut CA Technologies wanted to encourage their employees to use social media in hopes that they'd spend at least part of their time bragging about their company, retweeting flattering articles, or other such passive evangelizing. They wanted a simple video to show their teams internally. But, of course, they wanted something engaging and worth passing around. That usually means "funny," so they approached me.
I pitched them on doing a primer that looked and sounded like classic 1950s educational films and they went for it. Video is embedded below, and a few more details about it can be found here. Hope you like bees!
I like the corporate gigs, no doubt, not least of which because they let me cherish the other projects (where I get to cut loose and get silly) all the more. Here's my latest of the latter, Babies on a Plane. Made for the latest Killing My Lobster show, Killing My Lobster Chops Down the Family Tree, it's a parody that you'll get pretty quickly. I made it mostly in Photoshop, mashing up found photos with a still-shoot featuring KML Actor Andy Alabran. Throw in some royalty-free stock music, intermediate-level sound engineering, excellent VO work from Andy, Allison Johnson, and resident KML Voice-Of-God Calum Grant, chuck it all into iMovie, and the rest is comedy. In theory.