Sunday, December 26, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
To help get you in the Christmas spirit I present the very first movie I ever made… A Barking Spider Christmas. Starring my high school band, Barking Spiders, it was our take on the old Andy Williams/Perry Como type Christmas specials. We all wore sweaters, performed "Jingle Bells", exchanged gifts, sang Christmas carols with friends, and Santa even dropped by for a visit…literally.
A Barking Spider Christmas started with a loose script and was largely improvised as the camera rolled...which shows. And without access to editing equipment – this was 1988 after all – it was shot in sequence using only first-takes...which also shows. Like I said, this was our first attempt at movie making.
To clue you in on a couple of the inside jokes during the movie…
- The character Dirt, in the faux Budweiser commercial, is from the fictitious underground art band, Meat. (A side project consisting of 3/4 of the Barking Spiders.)
- Kevin's bass amp was on the fritz so it constantly made farting noises...all day long. Hence the line…"and a Fender amp that farts all day!", during "The 12 Days Of Christmas".
Here we are sitting down to watch A Barking Spider Christmas directly after filming it...
Below is a documentary looking back on the making of A Barking Spider Christmas – some 15 years later – with the original cast, including Mr. Rice our high school teacher whose classroom the movie premiered in.
A Barking Spider Christmas (1988)
Jim Burns as Jim Bones
Frank Fusco as The Lovely Frank
Kevin Purcell as Kevo
John Hoffman as Johnny Stitches
Joe Kollar as Santa
Plus a cast of thousands
Directed by Joe Kollar & Frank Fusco
©1988 Bubjunior Productions
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
This years Santa photo didn't go so well…
From the very beginning Chloe wasn't having it…
No matter how much we begged…
No matter how much we pleaded…
Chloe was defiant the whole way.
So we just gave up.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Nope, that's not a typo… In 2006, Kim, Casey and I met up with Kim's aunt and cousins at the Staten Island Mall to see the "Santa" Parade. It was pretty crowded with children and parents waiting to see Santa. The parade started with a bunch of elves marching and singing. When the elves got to the stage they started to tell a Christmas story, which would lead to Santa's arrival. During the story they invited select kids up to the stage and handed each of them a large letter on a piece of oak tag. One kid got a "S", one got a "A", one got a "N", and so on.
When they got to the end of the story they asked all the kids to line up with their letters, and the lead elf said… "And what does it spell?!!!"
It spelled… S-A-T-A-N
I immediately started to laugh out loud as the elves frantically fumbled with the kids to get them in the correct S-A-N-T-A formation. I looked around and realized I was the only one laughing. Then I remembered… I was in Staten Island.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Casey drew this the other day. He told me... "The 10 ninjas are attacking the house with swords and hammers. One of the ninjas is hitting the brown guy with a hammer. The green guy on the roof is cooking eggs while trying to grab a sword from another ninja."
Ninjas love eggs.
10 Ninjas Attack A House - by Casey Fusco, age 5 (2010)
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Like I said in yesterday's post, Christopher Guest's improvisational approach to directing left us with a lot of funny footage we couldn't use in our :30 spots. So we made a 5:30 video of all the outtakes and behind the scenes footage and presented it to our client for a board meeting.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Here's another career highlight... Back in 2000, I used to work on the RC Cola account at a small agency. When it came time to find a director to shoot our new campaign, on a gamble, we sent the scripts to Christopher Guest (Spinal Tap, Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show). Ever since I saw the "Men's Synchronized Swimming" short on Saturday Night Live back in the mid-80's I've been a die hard fan of Christopher Guest. Needless to say the 14 year old boy in me was ecstatic when we got the call saying Christopher was interested.
All the spots revolved around The RC Bottle Guy, who was basically a RC Cola mascot/spokesman, at his job in the supermarket. Out of the three scripts we sent, Christopher Guest only liked two of them. Rather than concept another spot he suggested coming up with random scenarios in a store that The RC Bottle Guy can improvise with – he'd think of a few, too. We'd then piece the scenes together with a voice over and use it as an introduction to the campaign.
During casting we chose Christopher Moynihan to be The RC Bottle Guy. Since then, Christopher Guest has used him in his last two movies (A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration). After the rest of the cast was chosen I then worked with a costume designer to fashion all my mascot sketches – The RC Bottle Guy's other co-workers.
On the day of our pre-production meeting my boss asked Christopher if he works with shooting boards, because he hadn't supplied any at the meeting. Christopher Guest looked at my storyboards and said "These'll do". He then went on to say that he can only draw people looking left and we'd probably want the actors looking right at times so really what's the point. It was his way of saying, "I'm Christopher Guest, I don't do shooting boards". I found that amusing.
It was a real privilege to watch Christopher Guest direct the talent on the set. He'd whisper something in the actors ear and then they'd just improv off of it, and most of it was hilarious. We had so many options that when it came time to edit, it was hard deciding what would make the cut. We actually had so many funny moments for the "Introduction" spot that we were able to knock off a few :15sec commercials as well.
In the end the spots to me feel more like mini-movies than commercials. Unfortunately, they had a limited run because right after we finished the spots, RC Cola was bought by Cadbury and they fired my agency. But enough talk, here's the Christopher Guest directed "RC Cola" campaign...
RC Cola "Introduction" :30...
RC Cola "Spud" :30...
RC Cola "Open Mic" :30...
And here's the :15's...
RC Cola "Juggle" :15...
RC Cola "Lady" :15...
RC Cola "Weights" :15...
After the shoot I asked to keep the RC Cola sock puppet from the "Introduction" spot. He now lives on a shelf in my basement.