New Work Samples

We’ve posted some new work samples on our website. Take a look!

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Finally, the rains ended…

… and now we can grab some exteriors for “Couch Cases”. We had to wait a whole week and a half, between the rains and overcast skies. Today we have some clouds, but the sky also has some blue in it for the first time in a while. I’m charging up the batteries and getting ready to grab some exterior shots, indie-style. That means no permits. It’ll be fun!

This, dear readers, is why we should all own or have easy access to a decent camera package. 

I’ve been so slammed at work on an urgent but low paying project this past week, so it’ll be nice to get out and do something creative this weekend. We don’t have a lot of time before SXSW, and we need to get that trailer and some tighter cuts of the episodes completed before then. Not to mention some sort of music bed and a basic website. That’s a lot to do in two weeks, when you’re also working a fulltime gig.

The good thing, for me, is I still love the work. We did a good job. Sure, in post you see all the flaws- the bad performances (rare, but it happens to the best!), takes with weird sound interference (again, it happens), and camera moves and framings I wish I’d done a bit differently. But as you let it all wash over you, things come together and after a few hours of playing you begin to see something that looks as good as anything on television. That’s a pretty amazing feeling, seeing it all come together.

Lately I’ve done a lot of thinking about how to do the next project. On “Couch Cases”, I had to deal with a lot of relatively low-end technology. I figured out how to make it look great, but it did take a bit of energy and a lot of kludges from me on set. Sure, I could have hired a DP. But not for this budget. I’m a damn good DP myself, but I do think next time I’ll either procure or rent a more high-end camera system, just to make things easier on myself.

Of course, if the next project happens to be a studio picture or a network show then I’ll simply hire more people.

I learned a lot about story on this project, too. We did a lot of things perfectly, and with regards to story, “Couch Cases” is light years beyond anything I’ve done. Heck, it’s light years beyond most anything out there. But just as writing experience helps me learn more about story from a writing standpoint, I found that being on set and working with actors regularly really helps me from a directing standpoint, too.  I haven’t had this much concentrated experience with one group of people since UCLA, or perhaps since I did the whole community theater thing. This was extremely valuable to me.

I’ve also learned more about teamwork on this project. Usually I’m the writer-director. And I function pretty well like that. But for this project, Kathi was my co-creator and creative producer. We had a few bumps in the road, getting used to this new relationship. But in the end we got a much stronger product. Perhaps two heads are better than one? One of the things I like about Kathi is how she can size up a situation and see what’s missing. Sometimes it’s annoying. Often it’s useful to the project. 

And I’m learning that, in the end, that’s all that matters.

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Finally, the rains ended…

… and now we can grab some exteriors for “Couch Cases”. We had to wait a whole week and a half, between the rains and overcast skies. Today we have some clouds, but the sky also has some blue in it for the first time in a while. I’m charging up the batteries and getting ready to grab some exterior shots, indie-style. That means no permits. It’ll be fun!

This, dear readers, is why we should all own or have easy access to a decent camera package. 

I’ve been so slammed at work on an urgent but low paying project this past week, so it’ll be nice to get out and do something creative this weekend. We don’t have a lot of time before SXSW, and we need to get that trailer and some tighter cuts of the episodes completed before then. Not to mention some sort of music bed and a basic website. That’s a lot to do in two weeks, when you’re also working a fulltime gig.

The good thing, for me, is I still love the work. We did a good job. Sure, in post you see all the flaws- the bad performances (rare, but it happens to the best!), takes with weird sound interference (again, it happens), and camera moves and framings I wish I’d done a bit differently. But as you let it all wash over you, things come together and after a few hours of playing you begin to see something that looks as good as anything on television. That’s a pretty amazing feeling, seeing it all come together.

Lately I’ve done a lot of thinking about how to do the next project. On “Couch Cases”, I had to deal with a lot of relatively low-end technology. I figured out how to make it look great, but it did take a bit of energy and a lot of kludges from me on set. Sure, I could have hired a DP. But not for this budget. I’m a damn good DP myself, but I do think next time I’ll either procure or rent a more high-end camera system, just to make things easier on myself.

Of course, if the next project happens to be a studio picture or a network show then I’ll simply hire more people.

I learned a lot about story on this project, too. We did a lot of things perfectly, and with regards to story, “Couch Cases” is light years beyond anything I’ve done. Heck, it’s light years beyond most anything out there. But just as writing experience helps me learn more about story from a writing standpoint, I found that being on set and working with actors regularly really helps me from a directing standpoint, too.  I haven’t had this much concentrated experience with one group of people since UCLA, or perhaps since I did the whole community theater thing. This was extremely valuable to me.

I’ve also learned more about teamwork on this project. Usually I’m the writer-director. And I function pretty well like that. But for this project, Kathi was my co-creator and creative producer. We had a few bumps in the road, getting used to this new relationship. But in the end we got a much stronger product. Perhaps two heads are better than one? One of the things I like about Kathi is how she can size up a situation and see what’s missing. Sometimes it’s annoying. Often it’s useful to the project. 

And I’m learning that, in the end, that’s all that matters.

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Yet More Cutting, SXSW Coming Up

We’re still cutting “Couch Cases”- I try to get in there every time the main edit bay opens up for more than an hour. Which has been difficult, with client work lately. That said, it’s very exciting that we’ll be launching the new “Couch Cases” trailer, a national television commercial, 4 new online video commercials, and my friend Erica’s movie- all within a few weeks of each other.

We’re very excited about SXSW, too.

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The WGA Said It

From today’s letter to WGA members, regarding the new writers contract:

“It is an agreement that protects a future in which the Internet becomes the primary means of both content creation and delivery.”

There it is. And although nobody has quite figured out what the business model will be, it’s becoming clearer by the week that what we’ve been saying for years is indeed coming true- the Internet is becoming the primary means of content creation and delivery.

It is an exciting time to be alive for both content creators and audiences, and we’re very excited that our online sitcom “Couch Cases” is a part of this massive shift in entertainment.

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Tom Petty Looks Like My Uncle

I realized this, watching Tom Petty perform at the Super Bowl. His eyes and face really remind me of my Uncle Chris. Weird. Petty rocked out, I was especially impressed he went for those high notes in “Free Fallin'”.

In mid 2007, when I was directing a big greenscreen project at a local soundstage that also housed a world famous recording studio I found out Tom Petty recorded there. Sandy, the really cool manager of the complex, let me hang out for a while in the studio where Petty recorded. That experience was almost as cool as the fact that a client was paying me to direct a project for them.

Last week we soft launched a site, one that included a lot of video. We’re also still editing in the evenings, getting “Couch Cases” ready for its closeup. It’s not easy, editing at night in between client jobs. But we’re scrappy, we’re kicking butt, and we rock.

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Cutting Nights & SXSW

We’ve been editing “Couch Cases”, our web based sitcom (some call it a webisode, but it’s way nicer than any of those that I’ve seen)  in the evenings, in between client work. We have roughs of episodes 1 & 2, and we’re halfway through #3. It’s not easy, because Genius Monkeys is doing so well that it’s hard to find time to work on our own projects. But it’s worth it, and we’re scrappy- this project impresses me every day we work on it.

Brandon’s still editing Erica’s film “The Visit”, it’s going pretty well and he’s finding some really good stuff to add to it.

We’re working on some new video projects for our Adoption client, too. These involve flash video and some spiffy custom player apps for their website.

Also, Kathi and I plan on being at SXSW in Austin next month to learn stuff, network, and enjoy the awesome local scene. If anyone wants to meet up, shoot us an email or give a call.

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New Flash and Video for Website

We’re in the final hours of work before the launch of a major new client’s website. Empty Street did the database and design, and we came in to create the web video and Flash elements. 

Lately we’ve been trying to educate clients on how to embrace Flash without causing all sorts of usability and visibility problems. We’ve developed a pretty great workflow and design solution, which we’re using for the very first time on this web design project.

This particular project really pushed us, and I can’t wait until we get signoff from the client so I can tell you more about it. This project will probably end up as a whitepaper on the Genius Monkeys website at a later date.

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PSA for the Jewish Film Festival in LA

Today we did some post production work on a PSA for the Jewish Film Festival in Los Angeles (May 11th, 2008) to help out a friend who worked on “Couch Cases”.

There wasn’t a lot of heavy lifting needed, as the spot centers around a live action puppet show. It should be up on YouTube soon, though, and it was a fun couple of hours.

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Rainbows

I saw my first rainbow of the year, arched in technicolor across Lankershim and Vineland. I love Los Angeles when it rains. Everyone looks and acts a bit more New York than LA, which is a great change. I wonder sometimes if my perception is because generally in LA we don’t need “weather clothes”. So, when it rains, everyone gets out the stuff they had to wear in the crappy weather from back east.

In other news, we’re in the middle of cutting “Couch Cases”. And it’s really f’n good. We posted some photos at “behindthescenes.couchcases.com“.

And I’m also in the middle of some new projects at work. It’s good to be busy.

Speaking of busy, I’m taking a new class at UCLA. Eventually, I’ll get that damn certificate! But for me, this class is about tuning up and making some better habits that’ll help me get some stuff done. I’ve somehow become a working pro, but I have a lot to learn about a lot. I forgot how much I enjoyed UCLA classes, and I’m glad to be back. Nothing like a forced external deadline to drive one, eh?

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About PatrickOrtman, Inc.

PatrickOrtman, Inc. is one of the top-rated video production companies in Los Angeles and New York City. We make high-end corporate videos, and commercials for TV and digital for clients that include 11 Fortune 500s.