THIS PAGE FEATURES A SELECTION OF VIDEOS FROM OUR ARCHIVES OF SHORT COMEDIES, DOCUMINTARIES AND MARTIAL ARTS FILMS. THESE VIDEOS HAVE COLLECTED OVER
20,000 VIEWS ON YOUTUBE
Smith Family Fight Fantasies Back Story
All four of these films were shot in the mid 70s on Super-8 film with no sound recorded. In 2005, after gathering dust in a box for 32 years, I digitized them with the intention of building sound tracks for them and making them available on DVD for the family. Of course, these tasks turned out to be much more complex and involved than I had originally anticipated, but I know that's always the way in filmmaking. At the time of filming, my wife Suann and I and my two sons, Scott and Michael were actively practicing the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon Do. I was an advanced hobbyist film maker prior to my professional career in media. In retrospect I can see that these films were an inevitable family event.
So, one Sunday in the summer of 1973, quite without planning, my family and I and our Karate friends and teachers Bud Housley and Phil Warren, along with my Super-8 camera, found ourselves in a local park. And quite spontaneously, within a couple of hours we had shot "Walk In The Park" and "Mugged" They didn't acquire titles until much later but that's how it happened. Back then I would play a pre-recorded musical tape for sound when I projected them for friends and family in my basement theater. The black & white parts of "The Little Dragon" were shot the same summer in my Aunt Ruth's front yard. The primary parts (in color) were shot about a year later. During restoration it occurred to me to combine them into one film, now titled "The Little Dragon". As mentioned elsewhere, Rosemary came up with the idea of recording the voices of my grandsons for use as the voices of their fathers in these films. Rose ended up providing the voice of Suann, the mother character. I provided all the adult male vocals including the ones for Phil's character in "Mugged." It was great fun for all concerned and we ended up with a family project spanning 33 years and 3 generations of the Smith family.
"The Bag Workout," shot some 5 years later was a chance to try some classic film storytelling techniques. The old "Subjective Camera," made popular by Hitchcock and many others, now a cliche', still remains a great way to build suspense. I used many more angles and close-ups this time. Some of the original film cuts and splices were so brittle and fragile that they broke in the projector during restoration. That was true of all the films, especially "Walk In The Park." Thanks to digital video editing, I was able to piece it together.
The sound design was a challenge. Learning how to manipulate and shape different sound effects for my purposes was a real education. Just what does a back-fist-punch in slow motion sound like anyhow? Just like I want it to sound, that's how. Building the musical scores from my Buy-out library was a big revelation. I learned I could do just about anything I wanted to do so long as I have enough tracks to work with. A few of the SFX were borrowed from The film "Kung Pow" with their blessing (see their site; click here). Hats of to them for making the best martial arts parody film of all time. But most of the SFX were either plucked from my vast library of SFX or foleyed by me. Most of the sounds in "The Bag workout" had to be foleyed. My vast library had no sounds for a bag being punched and bouncing around on a chain. Most of the punches and kicks, falls and grunts and groans are mine.
Those of you who have read this far must know by now that this project was a labor of love, for me. and I love the way it turned out.
Smith Family Fight Fantasies
This film features the voice of my grandson Spencer dubbed in for the images of my son Scott; Spencer's father. (see Back Story) The version you are seeing was 35 years in the making, involving 3 generations of Smith Family members. Originally shot and edited as a straightforward sequences, during restoration I realized that after 32 years of watching the evolution of martial arts films, it now lent itself more to comedy. So comedy it is, with a deep and appreciative bow to it's predecessor and inspiration, "Kung Pow," the ultimate martial arts film parody. Rosemary came up with the son/grandson voice idea.
This film was shot the same day as the above "Walk In The Park." After 32 years it finally got a title during the final sound edit. We always referred to it as "Phil's Movie." Staring Phil Warren, even after that 32 years of martial arts film evolution and sophistication, it still holds up, totally because of Phil's skills and choreography. Because I'm in this one, son Scott was camera man. He was 10 years old at the time. Phil continues his practice of Tae Kwon Do to this day. I've lost track of his level of Black Belt, but what difference does it make. He can kick your butt a hundred different ways.
"2007" Serious Fans Videos
The Cleveland Edition
This is the third in "The Stoolers" series for Serious Fans. It's the only episode of the series that I am responsible for. Scott did the first two all by himself. The recycled beer gag is my original idea, conceived around 15 years ago. I made an attempt to shoot it back then but I was just starting out in the business and my technicals were just not up to snuff so I put it on the back burner. I've been sitting on it all these years, waiting for the right time to bring it out. Scott begged me to let him use it in a Stoolers episode but I resisted because I wanted to keep it for myself. We finally came to a compromise. We would make it into a Stoolers episode but I would produce and direct, which I did. Now that it's published I eventually expect to see others using the gag, but don't forget where it came from. And don't be surprised to see the recycle gag again in a new and different video of mine someday.
Referee Zone I & II, a parody and homage to the old original "Twilight Zone" TV show was a fine collaboration between Serious Fans and MediaSmiths Digital. All the Boys co-wrote it. With the exception of "Rod" in front of the green screen, both episodes were shot the same day. Scott was still struggling with recording audio but all in all, he did a fine job of directing. I knew they were shooting something about referees but I had no idea exactly what. When I saw the footage I was inspired to pitch in. When I realized they were attempting a Twilight Zone parody I knew it needed some suitable opening graphics, so I made them. Scott did a rough cut on episode one while I edited episode two, then I sweetened his cut to completion. I snatched the classic Twilight Zone music and weaved it in (perfectly legal in a parody) to complete the illusion. Voi la, two smart parodies for the Serious Fans collection. I like to think that aside from Serious Fans and the Cleveland Browns, these videos stand on their own as serious comedies.
Kudos to our actors. Tom Risko, a local amateur actor and newcomer to Scott's ensemble did a fine job. Jim Haffner, Scott's off-mic/camera "Producer" for their radio show and the unseen fifth member of the Serious Fans Boys (the ref with the thick glasses and the fork) was spot on. Jim was also a member of my production crew back in the Live-switched Multi-camera days of SSTV in the 90s. Scott's sons, Alec and Spencer are seen in episode II as extras but they were pitching in as crew the whole time. Mike Stanley, idea-man, writer and Play-by-play announcer for the radio show was eerily convincing as Anal Hindlick. Stanley was also a crew member/video director for me back in the day (90s). My son Michael did double duty playing the sincere but clumsy and a bit gay student ref, and "Rod." His performance solidified the whole parody. I always knew Mike was funny but I never knew he could do impressions. I was blown away (are you listening Dr. Phil).
These three Muni Lot episodes, all shot on the same rainy day were another of my contributions to the Serious Fans effort. Utilizing our ENG/MTV Run-n-gun style coverage, their appeal is somewhat limited. These are for crazy, die-hard Cleveland Browns fans, the Serious Fans. You might be surprised at how many of them there are out there in cyberspace. I know I was. This one features a great interview with a group of fans all the way from Connecticut. I think we captured the essence of the famous pre-game Muni Lot
This episode features a cool interview with some Denver Broncos fans down from Canada. It's always interesting to include the opposition. It also features Mike Stanley on mic. Mike has the most experience with this type of coverage. He was always my go-to-guy interviewer back in the day. When Mike takes the mic, the screen lights up.
This one features an interview with the local Cleveland rock band "Sunset Strip." Plus an up close and personal view of the now famous "Serious Fans Piss Bucket."
This was Scott's first attempt at producing a professional quality video. Entirely his concept, I was his editor. He was over my shoulder the whole time. To say we disagreed on some of the finer points is an understatement. It took us a month and a half to finish. The original DVD version included a personal pitch to Howard Stern. Though completely ignored by Stern's group and turned down by Sirius Radio because of potential conflict with the NFL, I believe it's their loss, not Scott's.
In January of 2006 my son Scott and Scott's lifelong friend Brandon Beck approached me with their own media brainchild. They wanted to produce a radio show based on Scott and Brandon and my youngest son Michael and his life long friend Mike Stanley commenting on Cleveland Browns football games. And they wanted to do it live during the actual games. And they wanted me to help them produce their pitch material, initially a DVD. I told Scott they couldn't afford me, but he was persistent and finally sold me on their concept. Scott threw up a web site in support and started promoting. Scott and I knocked out a cool DVD to pitch the idea and the effort became known as "Serious Fans: The Cleveland Edition." Scott also forged a relationship with Barry McBride, developer of TheOBR.com (Orange & Brown Report) the largest, most successful Browns Backer site out there. That summer prior to football season, Scott started producing short-form comedy videos (Hey Dad, can I use your camera?) for TheOBR Site. To date the Boys have produced some 15 videos (with the help of old Dad Rock), most of which can be viewed here. SeriousFans.com Once there, click on the Serious Fans Films button. Only in their first year, Serious Fans missed their original goal of satelite-casting on Sirius Radio but they did make Internet Radio history by Internet-casting 10 complete game programs on SportsTalkCleveland.com. The show was brilliant in execution. It did have it's rough spots technically but the content was spot on. Together, the Serious Fans Boys are happening. They're totally knowledgeable about their subject and funny as hell to listen to.
We are excited to hear that "Serious Fans: The Cleveland Edition" has been picked up by SportsTalkCleveland.com for another season this fall. Personally I'm looking forward to great things from them in '07.' So check back here from time to time for great new stuff from the Serious Fans Boys. And if you are a Cleveland Browns fan, check out their radio show this fall. You will be entertained.
Do you think I'm prejudiced?
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This is the sequel to "Walk in the park" staring my son Michael, not the same boy in "Walk In The Park" that fights the black guy, who also happens to be the 'bad guy' in this film. This is actually two films combined to make one. The primary footage in color was shot when Mike was 9 years old. The flash-back sequence, in sepia tone was done when he was about 7. The voice of Michael age 9 was Scott's son Alec. The voice of Michael age 7 was Michael's younger son Mason. The voice of 'Big Brother' in the flash-back was Michael's' older son Anthony. Do we have you totally confused? There are a lot of sons and grandsons in the Smith family.
This film was an exercise in shooting and editing something more complex than my previous films. We actually put a little planning into it this time. Scott was about five years older than his appearance in "Walk In The Park." I had turned professional with my still photography and photo illustration by this time and I needed a film to show the producers of the martial arts feature film "The Instructor" being shot locally. They hired me on crew as a 'gaffer' on the strength of this film and my photo lighting skills. I soon advanced to the position of Assistant Director with that venture. "The Instructor" turned out to be a boxoffice bust but the production experience was very valid and rewarding. "The Instructor" had its moments but in retrospect I believe "The Bag Workout" is the better film, ha.
A commercial parody from Serious Fans
in collaboration with
A biting, socially relevant satire aimed at the "NFL Bad Boys" who have a habit of breaking the law in their off-hours. This video should appeal even to non-sports fans.
"2006" Serious Fans Videos
I'm proud to report that my son Scott and his sons Alec and Spencer have been practicing Tae Kwon Do for the past three years. Last summer Alec and Spencer and I shot footage for a new fight film. Just recently Scott dove into the project and created his version of that footage. He completed it in one evening. Again, borrowing liberally from the Kung Pow Sound Effects library, here is Scott version he calls "Battle In The Woods"
After seeing Scott's version (above) I was inspired to get off by butt and complete my original vision for this same footage. This version took me about three weeks to complete. Most of the sound effects are my own, some Foleyed just for this video. The vocals for Alec's character are his actual voice rerecorded, then manipulated in post.
I was missing some vital footage we neglected to shoot last year that was necessary to complete the video. So during post, Alec and I recreated the scene and shot two additional clips that allowed me to finish this video. He was a whole year older than in the original footage. See if you can pick them out.
The Family tradition lives on.
The latest from
in collaboration with
Three Cleveland Browns fans, shipwrecked on an island find a way to tune in to their favorite team's games.
This video was shot in Ponce Inlet, Florida and in Brandon Beck's back yard in Daytona Beach. The premise was his idea, with a little help from the rest of us. FYI, Brandon is a professional Air Brush Artist, making a living painting T-shirts and what-not in Daytona Beach. He travels extensively for various events around the country and in Europe. He lives a lifestyle that most of us only dream about. Some of his designs can be viewed in the backgrounds on the Serious Fans site. He's a pretty good writer and a musician as well. The Rock Riffs heard in many of our videos is Brandon's work.
Part 1 in our series of Interviews With Eric Steinbach & Kamerion Wimbley of the Cleveland Browns by Serious Fans: The Browns Edition at a benefit for the Berea Children's Home at Scoundrels in Berea, Ohio organized by the Berea Browns Backers Club.
Berea Benefit Part 1
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Part 2 in our series of Interviews With Eric Steinbach & Kamerion Wimbley of the Cleveland Browns by Serious Fans: The Browns Edition at a benefit for the Berea Children's Home at Scoundrels in Berea, Ohio organized by the Berea Browns Backers Club.
Berea Benefit Part 2
Berea Benefit Part 3
Part 3 in our series of Interviews With Eric Steinbach & Kamerion Wimbley of the Cleveland Browns by Serious Fans: The Browns Edition at a benefit for the Berea Children's Home at Scoundrels in Berea, Ohio organized by the Berea Browns Backers Club. Parts 1 & 2 below.
Fun With Green Screen
Click on the video to the left for a
demonstration of various Chroma Key techniques created in our studio. This video features two from our library of Virtual Sets plus several plate shots (backgrounds) created specifically for this video. We can take you anywhere with Chroma Key.