A short movie I made waiting at the airport

I was taking a quick flight from Portland to San Jose and when I got to the airport, I realized my flight was delayed and I had two hours to kill. I decided to try and shoot and edit a little movie on my phone and upload it before leaving (thanks free WiFi at PDX). I asked Twitter for suggestions, and Twitter never disappoints in situations like these…

I decided to work gum into the movie because I like chewing gum.

One thing I liked about making a movie this way is that you have to use your limitations to your advantage. Just like regular filmmaking. I balanced my phone on the railing of the people mover (the flat escalators) and used it for a dolly shot. There were empty gates where I was able to set my phone up and walk away from it. I had to balance my phone on my bag and wrap a strap around it for the clip where I unwrap my gum.

Another limitation was my phone’s battery. It was draining fast and I didn’t have a charger with me, knowing there was one where I was going. My fear was shooting too much, or editing too long, would cause the battery to die and the upload to fail. And part of this exercise was getting it all edited and uploaded before the plane took off.

I ended up getting the movie uploaded before my flight took off, but my phone was dead when I arrived. It worked hard enough for one night.

Behind the scenes: The Carolyn Show (Episode 1)

The first episode of The Carolyn Show has been launched into the world. It’s been a fun collaboration because I’m used to writing a script and then letting actors improvise off that. In this case, Carolyn and I exchanged a bunch of ideas via email over a long time until we came up with an idea that made sense (in a talking pug, tarragon smoking, draw bridge apartment sort of way).

The nice thing about working with a cartoonist is that you aren’t limited to just things you can shoot with a camera. And she would add new animations months after we shot that added more funny stuff to the script. For instance, there’s a scene involving a wedding ring and underwear that we shot, but she was able to highlight it with a quick animation. So it’s been fun and hopefully we’ll do more soon. But here are some photos from the shoot….

It’s very unprofessional when actors fall asleep on set…

Carolyn getting some make-up put on by Emily…

Crystal and Benja met probably 10 minutes before we started taking photos of them as a couple…

Pomponette is ready to do some acting!

We shot the opening montage after most the episode had already been edited. This was a sign near Director Park…

Watch it now (unless you’re around people who frown on cartoon nudity).

Introducing… The Carolyn Show!

I’ve been working with the very funny Portland cartoonist Carolyn Main on what I’d guess you’d call a web series. I like to think of it more as an infrequently updated online comedy variety show with cartoons and talking animals. Okay, web series it is.

Like most people I know these days, I met Carolyn on Twitter and we soon started sending ideas back and forth for little webisodes. We’ve only filmed a few but have many MANY more ideas lined up. To celebrate the launch of The Carolyn Show, there will be a little bash in Portland on Friday (May 18th) at 8pm at Cosmic Monkey Comics. You should totally go. Here’s a little idea of what you can expect from The Carolyn Show……

Introducing… The Carolyn Show!

A Leprechaun Tries to Get Lucky on St. Patrick’s Day

Right Hook

Filmed By Bike 2012 – You Should Go!

It’s time for my favorite film festival in Portland–Filmed By Bike! I throw some kids on the back of a cargo bike every morning to take them to school, then I ride along the Springwater trail to work. But I don’t really belong to any part of Portland’s famous bike culture. I don’t go on organized rides, I’m not on any teams, I smile wistfully at Breakfast on the Bridge but never stop, I don’t even read any bike blogs. Not that I’m against those things, I’m just usually thinking about making a movie. So Filmed By Bike is the perfect festival for me: bike enthusiasts combined with film fans.

But some of you might be thinking, “I don’t know how to ride a bike, but I want to see movies you’ve made on a big screen and also drink beer in the street.” You are in luck! On Friday the 13th, you can attend the Opening Night Street Party. It’s a fun event and you should just go and see what it’s all about.

If you can’t make it Friday night, there are still plenty of chances to see a movie I’ve made while drinking beer in a theater. This year’s movie (Invincible, starring my daughter in her big screen debut!) plays on all three showings on Friday, Saturday at 5pm, and Sunday at 9pm. What? Not enough for you? Then show up on Wednesday at 7pm or 9pm and see two of my previous Filmed By Bike movies: Claire Rides a Bike and Right Hook.

Here’s the full list of all the movies being shown: Filmed By Bike Program

Did I mention the opening night screenings have an awesome raffle? And insanely fun street entertainment? And beer on tap? Also, movies?

Finally, here’s a little movie I made from the festival three years ago…

Filmed By Bike (Filmed by Mike) from Mike Vogel on Vimeo.

Did You Cast Anyone? – my crowdfunding webseries

I’m getting ready to show my second feature Did You Kiss Anyone? at the Bagdad Theater on Feb. 7th. I tried to raise money for it over the summer of 2009 by doing a crowdfunding webseries called Did You Cast Anyone. I love Wainy Days and Curb Your Enthusiasm, so I wanted it to be like those, only less funny and without famous celebrities.

We only took a few hours to film each episode. It shows sometimes but that’s also what I like about them. The episode with Bryce was entirely improvised a few minutes after we met up to shoot it. Every single actor did an amazing job with improv. Working with funny actors who can improv is the best.
I’d love to say the crowdfunding webseries was a massive success. But this was 2009 and Kickstarter was still in private beta and you had to explain to people what crowdfunding even meant. We raised a little bit of money, all of it from people I know, and it ended up being about half of what the movie cost, which is about one-tenth of the minimum budget it should have cost. I understand crowdfunding is the future and it’s revolutionary and all that crap you read on blogs, but it also sucks. It should be called crowdbegging. That’s what it feels like.

I’m rambling. Here are all the episodes of Did You Cast Anyone? If you’re in Portland, come to the Bagdad on Feb 7th and see these actors in completely different roles. I’m also going to be showing a Lost Episode (not an episode of Lost, but an episode that was never released for a variety of reasons).

Please take the next half hour of your life and enjoy….

Did You Cast Anyone?