IC Videos

No Promo

Since I make most of my money by writing and producing commercials, I thought it’d be fun to apply a cable channel’s logic to the Internets Celebrities video flow.

We’re about to drop our biggest documentary yet and in service of that, I thought I’d tease the premiere.

The good/bad thing about promos (on TV or otherwise) is that the science of ratings is inexact. Trailer-makers and promo-producers can never take the full credit or full blame for the size of an audience (or lack thereof). It’s basically viewed as a can’t hurt type of format. Promos get a lot of scrutiny (sometimes too much) because they’re often the first chance that the audience has to look at the actual show.

I just want promos or commercials I make to leave the viewer with the same feeling I get from watching a good trailer in the theater: Damn, I’d like to see that movie.

Failing that, I’d settle for a WTF.

In any event, the above promos are two jokes that I liked a lot from the footage we shot for our new doc that didn’t fit in the final cut. Or maybe they’re in the final cut. Or maybe I’ve said too much.

Lost & Found…

After the iNternets Celebrities returned from the Sundance Film Festival we were inspired to cover other events with our lens and our perspective. The first major summer event of 2007 was the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. In a newly gentrified neighborhood underlooking the Brooklyn Bridge we gathered to watch a few artists from borough of Kings and some artists from other places spit their hot shit.

Unlike the film series that was created by our weeklong experience in the Utah mountains, the film set for the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is the product of a single day of shooting. I give a lot of credit to Terrence Elenteny for finding the material in several hours of tape to create these films…

  • Outdoor Concert DOs and DONTs
  • Free Shit
  • But I also need to shout out Cas and Rafi for being hardbody filmmakers who braved the oppressive 175 degree heat sunshine to remain at the festival until the very last minute.

    My favorite video in the series was titled ‘The Lost Tapes’. Terrence and Cas describe the serious aspect of Hip-Hop in this video as they show the business people as well as the artists that encompass rap music. Inside of this video is a line from Rafi that has fully described my feelings for appreciating rap music – discerning. The other truly classic moment in this video is Rafi’s interchange with QB emcee Killer Shah.

    What I always find to be sort of remarkable is the fact that I only see Rafi and Cas on days that we film, yet we never have too much of a problem finding our rhythm and speed after we give each other pounds [ll]. I’m still not sure what the future holds for the i.C. movement, but I will always enjoy watching the exploits of discerning Hip-Hop fans.

    What The Fuck Is SIDEWALK PIMPING?!?

    Thank GOD for Hip-Hop and the fact that it has created a Bizarro world for adjectives and sensibilities. Bad is now good. Church is now a place you want to go. The ‘N’ word is now a term of endearment. And pimping is now something we all should aspire to.

    The night that we shot ‘Sidewalk Pimping’ we initially had no intention of making a video. I met with Terrence, our infamous editor, on Broadway in SoHo, New York. The mission was to go inside of the Puma sportswear flagship store for their debut promotion of the Puma x Yo! MTV Raps collaboration of items honoring Hip-Hop icons Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane and MC Shan. What the fuck was I thinking? I haven’t owned a pair of Puma in over three years ever since I sold my used mint green ‘Californias’ on eBay to some kid in San Francisco.

    Let’s face it, Pumas are for fags, but this party had an open bar and a performance from Black Moon. The only problem for us was that we didn’t have the props. The tight track jacket dude at the front door had hate in his eyes behind his big ass shades. Lucky for us Terrence’s day job was nearby and he had a digital camera stashed up in the spot. What followed was the documetation of how to enjoy your ‘iNTERNETS CELEBRITY’ status outside of your parent’s basements. Going inside that party might have been fun, but standing on the sidewalk was way more entertaining.

    Most people in New York that go out to nightclubs don’t drive their cars since 1) they don’t own cars, 2) they can’t afford the cost of attendant parking lots and 3) you can’t get truly twisted from the open bar when you have to be concerned with driving home. Access to the open bar party on a Friday night in NYC is like hitting the lottery. So just like the lottery there will be a lot of losers standing on the sidewalk. In my mind these folks are really the winners.

    ‘Sidewalk Pimping’ is just like parking lot pimping. People sell their homemade CD’s, beautiful young women stand on line like silent high-end fashion store mannequins while some fellas try to align themselves with a group of ladies to co-sign their entry into the club, and someone needs to describe all this madness for the masses. During our evening of sidewalk pimping we talked with rap music legend Ed Lover, the dude that deejayed for Kid ‘N Play, the Retro Kids (or a somewhat bootleg version) and we even scored some audio from a songstress inspired by Amy Winehouse.

    ‘Sidewalk Pimping’ runs the gamut of celebrity status. The Has-Beens can party with the Never-Will-Be’s while on the sidewalk if only for at least a moment. This is American democracy at its finest. That is why sidewalk pimping is so icy.

    And so i.C.

    Urine Nation (new video)

    It’s time to piss in public!

    The Internets Celebrities – Dallas Penn & Rafi Kam – show you where to go when you have to go! A big-city guide to stress-free urination when you’re far from the comforts of your own toilet.

    Directed by Casimir Nozkowski
    Shot by Ian Savage
    Edited by Terrence Elenteny

    Pass The Camera Mic

    To camera mic or shotgun mic or lavalier or boom, that is the question.

    Recently, I had the opportunity to record a cypher with three unsigned but very deserving rappers on North 14th St. in Brooklyn. For the sake of convenience and quickness, I chose to camera mic.

    It was done to promote a live show featuring these and other rappers that the Internets Celebrities were hosting. We wanted to see if the internets would respond to a youtube “ad” for a rap show in the real world.

    Then, we dropped a second promotional video in which the same three underground rappers bowl with the Internets Celebrities.

    These two clips were filmed with a 1-chip miniDV camera and the rhymes were spit right to camera mic – an aesthetic befitting rappers whose skills I think speak for themselves. Lights in the bowling alley would have been immensely helpful. But the streetlight that illuminates the rhyme sessions outside is more than enough in my opinion. I like it when shoots are that simple – when the event you’re documenting does not need polish save crisp, clean edits and bold, straightforward type. The aesthetic affords mobility and saves time.

    I used to fear the camera mic. It couldn’t possibly produce working sound. Ambience would swallow up any elocution. I have discovered that is not the case. Yes, there are MUCH better ways to record sound but in the end, in a video that just has to get done and that you’re making yourself, stressing over hiss and background noise is counterproductive. There are some videos that just have to get done and some events – like a cypher – that may actually benefit from an all around simplified vibe.

    And there are some events that benefit from looking and sounding dope.

    For something prettier and appropriately so, check out the actual show which was shot by Terrence Elenteny with two much nicer HDV cameras. Plus, the audio came out of the soundboard.

    When you need to get it done, don’t be afraid to go raw. If you’ve got the gear and the time to make it look good, by all means give yourself the best chance to apply the proverbial sunblock against the harsh light of a youtube compression.

    Every video that strikes a blow against the misconception that live rap always sounds awful is very welcome in my opinion.

    Oh Word will be dropping a live video of each rapper from the show over the course of the week. All quality.

    VH1 Hip Hop Honors Total Fucking Access

    First you get the money. Then you get the power. Then you get the press credentials! Once a year, hip hop gets a red carpet and this time around, the Internets Celebrities felt the need to grace it with their presence. In this video, we cover every square inch of the VH1 Hip Hop Honors Awards show: From the stairways to the press room, from the free cold snacks to the free hot food, from backstage to the main stage, get your total fucking access pass with the Internets Celebrities and go deep on a great night for Hip Hop.

    Internets Celebrities: Dallas Penn and Rafi Kam
    Director: Casimir Nozkowski
    Camera/Editing: Terrence Elenteny
    Original Music: Jon Davis

    Chea to Eskay for the press access!

    How to pitch a movie about cereal

    Cereal Is Dope was definitely a fun movie to make on my end. Casimir (and Terrence) typically do all the hard work like culling together clips from the hours of footage that we shoot. For Rafi and me the hardest part of the project is pitching the idea to Cas. We have to find a way to endear him or excite him on the subject before he will even consider shooting the movie. For Cas the editing process begins before the tape has even started rolling. The real question is… Why would anyone even want to watch this shit?

    The following clips were my pitch to the i.C. in the attempt to have our cereal movie produced. Now if you had seen these first would you have wanted to go ahead and shoot the movie?

    Cereal is Dope Outtakes and the secret to creating anything

    They say good writing is all about ruthless editing. You could argue that the same is true of any creative art. There’s always the impulse to include everything and the kitchen sink. By nature we are creatures of ego, possessive of every fragment of thought, every image we put out there. But it is the ability to pare down — to take out the distractions and the self-indulgences in order to focus on the heart of the story — that separates the amateur from the artist.

    I used to write a lot of poetry back in college. The best editor I ever had was a fellow student who made me re-write one poem at least a half-dozen times, always with the mantra “if you don’t need it – get rid of it”.

    Eventually the real poem emerged from the original masturbatory pages I had submitted. The work had transformed and what remained was just the essence: the unfocused language had become crisp, the lines consistently short, the unnecessary ideas removed.

    Ironically, this editor had great difficulty following his own advice. Instead of keeping his own poetry tight, he was forever filling notebooks with epic verse about factory workers – their drug habits and trashy women, their fucked up relationships with their fathers and so on. It was colorful stuff for sure but it was impossible not to lose the plot.

    Discerning what works from what doesn’t in the context of your own project is a tricky task. It’s one thing to say “if you don’t need it, get rid of it” and quite another to realize what it means for your finished project to need or not need something, let alone having the balls to cut up your work.

    Editing video
    As with poetry, video moves according to a rhythm and has to be economical to be effective. There is no way to skim a video so if one begins to amble, most people would simply turn it off… If your video becomes monotonous or unfocused — it is doomed.

    The video editing workflow pretty much goes like this:

    1. Can this video be cut shorter?
      • If yes, shorten.
      • If not (really?), you’re done!
    2. Is shortened cut worse than previous cut?
      • If not, go back to Question 1.
      • If yes (unlikely), go back to previous cut.

        An example of this would be the 4-minute cut of Bodega that ran on The Daily Reel originally. The pacing may have been nicer for short attention spans but too much was lost which would have been enjoyed by those who had committed their attention. Our preferred 6 and a half minute cut may have broken a rule of viral media by being over five minutes but this version of the video has been a slow-burner for us, with a cult following that has grown and now perhaps tipped with accolades at film festivals and an appearance last week on Digg’s homepage.

    There’s a certain zen aspect to it all… Your video should be as short as it can be – but not a second shorter!

    Editing may be the most important step in a video’s creation. And I am just beginning to understand that I need to approach video the same way I learned to approach writing years back.

    Which baby to kill and which to save!
    That’s why when Cas sent us the clip reels for Cereal is Dope — nearly 40 minutes of us improvising about breakfast cereal — I wondered how he’d get this thing down to 5 minutes when about half of it seemed really funny to me. It took Cas a while to find his path but he really didn’t have much of a choice after all. He needed everything he could get with us setting up why we love cereal, to provide the video with structure so it wasn’t a bunch of floating jokes.

    One fan told me he could have watched 30 minutes of us talking smack about cereal. As someone who did watch that much and enjoyed it, I get what he’s saying… But the fact is it wouldn’t have been nearly as good an end-result. A great video is more than a string of disconnected jokes – a great video tells a story.

    After we posted Cereal is Dope, I was looking through the original clip reels to pick the best of the outtakes. Like my college editor, unable to cut down his own work even though he knew better, I wanted to run it all! Any little segment that gave me a chuckle was worth running .. Before I knew it, I had cut up nearly 20 clips.

    The thing is most of them were just so-so. For most of them there was a good reason they were nowhere near the final cut of Cereal is Dope. Cas and then Dallas talked some sense into me. It doesn’t matter if a few fans think they want to see all your footage… You have to know better.

    Not everything has to be perfect but if a good chunk of what you’re broadcasting to the world sucks then “you’re doing bad shit” like Kellogg’s.

    So with that in mind we dare instead to pick just the best of the unused clips. We end up with six in total for your enjoyment. Only a half-dozen that want to be calling you “cousin”.

    Re-watch the original “Cereal is Dope”, in case ya forgot.

    Cereal is Dope (video)

    Cereal is dope in every sense of the word.

    The new Internets Celebrities video about cereal is also dope!

    With music by Greg Glassman.

    Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival: The Lost Tapes

    When the Internets Celebrities cover an event, that event GETS covered. In the fourth video culled from our one-day shoot at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, the Internets Celebrities put everyone from the weed carriers to the label owners on tape.

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