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.

    The Pee is still Free: Urine Nation Screening at Chelsea Market this Monday

    In this effed the eff up economy, it is important to capitalize on those special events where the organizers are promising free local wine, free cheese and free delicatessen snacks.

    As it turns out those are my favorite kinds of wine, cheese and delicatessen snacks.

    If you are as down for freedom as the ICs are, free up your calendar this coming Monday March 24 for a Rooftop Films New York Non-Fiction Short Film Screening Extravaganza!

    They’re playing all kinds of movies including our very own public pee opus, Urine Nation!

    If you couldn’t tell what was going on in the phone booth on the small screen, you can savor every detail on the bigscreen this coming Monday. Here are the details:

    What: Free short films in Chelsea Market with a live performance by Drew and the Medicinal Pen.
    Where: Chelsea Market
    Enter at 75 9th Avenue in Chelsea,
    (Between 15th and 16th Streets)
    When: Monday, March 24th, 7:00 PM
    Music at 7 PM | Films at 7:30 PM
    Admission: FREE

    The ICs will be in attendance. We might even have some stickers.

    Guerilla Filmmaking 1: Don’t Be A Jerk

    You’re not allowed to shoot video on the subway

    You’re not allowed to shoot video in Whole Foods or at the Time Warner Center (or urinate in phone booths)

    You’re not allowed to shoot video at 2007’s biggest hiphop concert

    And basically, if you asked a lot of places (supermarkets, banks, MSG, etc) they’d say you’re not allowed to shoot there either.

    So should you?


    Get the shot. Get what you need to make a good, rich movie.

    Just don’t be a jerk about it.

    If you need a shot of Brooklyn from a subway car, then go get one. Just don’t be a jerk about it. Don’t film a lot of commuters just trying to go home after their crappy job. Don’t film people in the supermarket just trying to buy some groceries. Don’t film people at your local Commerce just trying to cash in their change. Don’t film people at the Knicks game spilling beer on the seat in front of them (apologies to the people I spilled beer on while trying to film Lebron go off for 50 points at the Garden last week).

    If you are a jerk about it, you become a paparazzi. Photographers and videographers who don’t give a fuck who they film and are actually hoping that their subjects look like chumps on camera are paparazzi. Putting someone on camera against their will is a bad look.

    But there are exceptions

    Filming a woman who carries around her dog in a baby bjorn while she casually leafs through CDs is not being a jerk. She’s the jerk. And her jerkitude trumps whatever jerkitude you enact by filming a person against his or her will.

    So run your potential guerilla shoot through the Jerk Matrix (the Jerk Matrix presupposes that you are an essentially decent person). Who is a bigger one? The subject or the shooter?

    If you are confident you’re not being a jerk about it, you can feel comfortable filming anywhere or anyone you think will provide good information for your movie.

    Why can’t you film at Whole Foods?
    Why can’t you film on the subway?
    Why can’t you film at the Hip Hop Honors?

    THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT ANSWER: Establishments create rules about recording devices because they don’t want you bothering their customers, interrupting their business flow or fucking up their money.

    When we were in Whole Foods, we just wanted to film the bathroom and film us sitting around enjoying an organic parfait. We weren’t trying to get in a customer’s way. So if you go back to the Jerk Matrix you don’t have to worry about the benefit of the doubt answer.

    THE CYNICAL ANSWER: Establishments create rules about recording devices because they don’t want to be caught doing embarrassing or shady things.

    More institutions that do shady things or take advantage of their customer should be put on camera. We’re about to make a documentary about an institution that serves various communities in useful ways but certainly makes a decent amount of their money through semi-nefarious methods. If you are making a non-fiction film that exposes a double-standard or sketchy situation, you definitely don’t have to worry about the cynical answer

    THE WHO GIVES A FUCK ANSWER: Establishments create rules about recording devices because they don’t want you making money off the live event they’re going to make a huge amount of money off of.

    Hmmmm. I don’t have an ethically defensible position here. I just don’t feel bad filming something when I paid 100 bucks to come see it. I don’t feel bad filming an event when the company behind the event is disgustingly rich. This is the office supplies stealing justification. The truth of the matter is whatever video I make at a live event isn’t being sold or licensed for any money (unless I’ve been contracted to do so). It’s going up on youtube and probably making me more of a pr person than a bootlegger. So you could argue that a Jerk Matrix can be created based on how your recording is going to be used. If you went to a concert and recorded it and sold that recording, you are starting to tip the jerk scale.

    In this day and age, you have the ability to shoot video anywhere you like. With small high-quality cameras, patience, a crew/cast that are good sports and a quickness, you can orchestrate documentaries and some narratives in locations where the official word is No Recording. Guerilla filmmaking creates the possibility for more great art.

    Life happens quickly and our memories aren’t trustworthy. If you see something that is awesome, that demands being recorded and improves the world by being shown, you may not have enough time to ask whether you can film it. You just have to dive right in, focus your lens with a little help from your moral code and record the transcendent but fleeting moment you’re witnessing (or contriving) at the Apple Store.

    Just don’t be a jerk about it.

    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.


    What do you call a 30 second version of a 3.5 minute movie?

    D.I.Y BIG MAC from Casimir Nozkowski on Vimeo.

    A contest entry!

    It’s hard to have a good answer when someone asks what my business model is regarding short videos and their presentation on the Internet. But two things that I think a group like Internets Celebrities or a filmmaker like me has to employ in search of livelihood is:

    1) Flexibility

    2) Prolific Output

    The former is essentially the ability to take your #2 (prolific output – pun intended) and mold it (pun still intended) into an infinite amount of permutations (pun intended but not really clear now). By producing different editions of your video you can generate capital through licenses to websites and sometimes channels OR by entering them into contests. One edition by itself isn’t necessarily going to pay a lot (the going rate for a short video license seems to be $500 – no matter the exclusivity) but the rough model here is producing multiple editions and licensing non-exclusively as much as you can. Contest prizes depend on the sponsor. But for a minimal to irritating amount of editing, they can pay nicely. The contest above pays the winner a $1000 American Express giftcard. Not bad for 3 hours of work (if we win).

    When it comes to licensing or entering your video into contests, those sites and/or channels almost always want a different version of your movie than the one you made originally. It’s usually an issue of timing (and when it comes to timing ALWAYS about shortening it) but sometimes it’s presentation. The original video – Ghetto Big Mac – definitely owes a lot of its success to Dallas’s inspired title. But in 30 seconds, I didn’t feel we had enough time to get into the socio-economic angle of the original video nor explain why we were calling it a GBM – so I thought re-titling it DIY would give the viewer a headstart towards appreciating its right-to-the-sandwich style (be careful of overthinking your re-edit).

    Does creating multiple edits of a piece mean you’re compromising a singular vision? I worry about that but I don’t think so. By practicing flexibility, I think you take advantage of the infinite spectrum of the online landscape. You get to invent the remix over and over again. You can honor your favorite version by placing it in the most identifiable space (the site, channel or in the festival that will potentially get the most views). Then, go ahead and spawn extensions of the original vision. Remixing a video is both cathartic – a healthier less uptight view of your work – and good practice – all online filmmakers could do a lot worse to sharpen up their editing skills.

    The surprising thing here is that the version you like the best may not actually be the best. As much as I complain when I hear the broken record response to videos – Can it be a little tighter? Shorter? Less Fatter? The opposite of more expansive? – truthfully, going back to the lab to pull a minute out of your original video almost always produces a better film.

    The original:

    A recut submitted to Current:

    I thought I knew which one I liked better.

    Flexibility = Perspective

    Tonight in New Jersey! Bodega in the Black Maria Film Festival

    Bodega stays winning.

    The 27th Black Maria Film Festival kicks off tonight in Jersey City and will include Bodega among its lineup of adventurous short films.

    You can check it out tonight, some IC’s will be in attendance. Tomorrow the festival is in Newark then back to Jersey City on Sunday. This festival travels around to other points in Jersey and even makes it out to Pennsylvania and points as far as Georgia and Ohio. Check the film festival’s touring dates.

    If it’s coming to your vicinity, please come out for some fun. Bodega is even more suave and delicioso on the big screen.

    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.

    Three Rapper Cypher – Stand Up! hosted by IC's

    The IC’s met the MC’s this weekend.

    On December 6, we’re hosting Stand Up! a showcase for some of New York’s finest underground rappers curated by Oh Word and Sit Down Stand Up.

    This weekend we met up with 3 of the MC’s on the bill – Cause, Donny Goines and Hired Gun – so that we could give you a little sample of the talent that will be on display on December 6.

    Check out the Cypher and check out the show! Tickets are available online now!

    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!

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