Dear friends, thank you for joining me on these kooky little jaunts through the archives of emotional Amazon reviews. We encountered so many real characters on our travels, like the elderly man frustrated at his new mini rhythm machine, and the two lovers expressing their burning pain in a duet of lube reviews. Then there was that Jason Priestley fan dancing through Jason’s memoir, and a mother in the midst of a war with a tiny piano. Or how about that woman who feared for her safety because of the Bible on the Kindle? And remember that RV owner on his courageous quest for the ideal toilet paper? And, last week, we met a lovable man who thinks his new cat castle is just the cat’s pajamas. What’s next???
The Amazon review of special edition of Space Jam. Image via Amazon/Lauren Maul
Our final review/song comes to us courtesy of one honest and true Space Jam fan. The review is entitled “Timeless” and when I first read it aloud, it sounded like the sweetest little country ditty. (I literally said, “Awww!” after I read it.) I set the song to music and started playing it around NYC at comedy shows. After one show my pal Tim Girrbach told me how much he enjoyed the ditty and the concept of setting Amazon reviews to music. We got to talking and I mentioned that I needed a choreographer and wondered if he could recommend anyone. He introduced me to Wendy Seyb, who became our fearless director/choreographer, and we ended up hiring him to play the old man in the pilot episode. Magic!
Filming in the rain in Brooklyn, using plastic bags and umbrellas as a “camera condom.” Image via Jason White
This episode was filmed on a rainy Sunday morning during the last day of filming. We didn’t have much time to get the basketball court footage before a downpour, so we had to act fast. We donned our Space Jam wear and rushed to a local Brooklyn playground to start filming. Unlike my camera, the cast and crew were fine with a little drizzle—it was a warm day and the light rain was practically a mist. With the help of a plastic bag and a team of umbrella holders, my camera calmed down and was totally protected from the drizzle. (Basically, a camera condom system.) But, after the cast sang the last “I BELIEVE I CAN FLY,” the rain REALLY came down. Wendy called, “CUT!” and we all grabbed our umbrellas and fled the scene.
Bear in repose, enjoying her newfound fame. Image via Jason White
We went back to my house, where we filmed a few more scenes inside and payed homage to Bear (our feline star/diva of the series). Then it was time to celebrate! We had done it! Eight episodes shot in five days—under both time and budget. That day ended in a big hippie sharing circle where we laughed and cried happy tears and thanked the stars that we actually made what we’d set out to make.
The hippie sharing circle. Image via Jason White
If you watched this web-series and thought, “Hey! I can do that!” it’s true—you totally can! Everyone can make art, and that includes movies. Decide what you want to say and gather a team of diverse and passionate people (and maybe even a cat like Bear). If you can, pay people or at least feed them—kindness and thoughtfulness go a long way. Plan ahead. The more organized you are ahead of time with schedules and budgets, the faster and happier you’ll work, and the more time and money you’ll save.
And, most important, have a joyful time! If the work is not a joy to make it probably won’t be any fun to watch. So, set up the conditions needed for everyone to enjoy themselves and make some art magic of your own. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!