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The MeTree Movie

April 20, 2009

Alright, so I did it. I made another movie completely by myself; in fact, I even put together my own music. The new short is called The MeTree, and is about a guy who summons a helpful delusion. The delusion begins to grow fake mustaches, which distresses the guy who is stricken with the inability to grow hair above his upper lip. Just watch the video to find out what happens next.

The idea for this came from an earlier project that I worked on while I was visiting my old college for its annual 24 Hour video contest. My friend Jeremy and I made a short video called Steampunk in a couple of hours; we played with melding body parts of one person together to create a creature of sorts.

I of course wanted to take it a step further, so the idea of a MeTree seemed logical. And the idea that it would be a self-delusion also just made sense. Plus, the project seemed perfect since I lack collaborative partners, and it was a great way to turn one person into multiple characters.

The original idea was that I could simply position myself so that all the pieces lined up, and so I would only have to worry about meshing the centers together. But since i did this by myself, the little marked paper I had taped to the LCD was not enough to help me effectively position myself. Thus, I had to use an 8 Point garbage matte to cut around the images of myself (making sure to adjust the smoothness and the feather) so that I could rotate and move the images to line up appropriately. This method can only do so much, which is why you can see some repetitions or distortions in the background behind me. Now, I could have spent several hours keygraphing the matte to avoid disrupting the background, but since I was a delusion, I felt I could logically excuse the issue as part of the design.

Above is a cool picture showing the amount of layers that were used to create the metree. In total, there are 9 layers of video–5 for the heads, 1 for the pants, and 3 layers of just orange shirt–that helped to create a distorted, shadowy, wrinkly, and Nike-logo-free center.

So, I had completed the film and thought that I had done a pretty good job of creating what was in my mind. However, this was before I had added any music or any flash effect for the appearance of a new delusion. The lack of those things made the film feel very flat, and too reliant on my own bad acting (seriously, I don’t want to cast myself in these; I just have a weird schedule, so it is easiest to do it myself). So, I came up with the idea to have a flash on my face appear whenever anything new was created. I used the 8 point again to create a second layer of my face. I then applied an intense bloom effect for a couple of frames. I found a nice funny noise off Soundtrack Pro, and was able to create another cool looking visual gag to round out the film.

I’ve probably already talked way too much about this film, but just wanted to revisit the idea of what I was trying to do. I was hoping to create the idea that the delusion is a more rational, even-tempered, and intelligent being than the one who is having the delusion. I wanted to suggest that even though a better person exists within us, this existence does not mean we can tap into that resource. I also like the idea of someone trying to use or take advantage of his own delusion, while also ignoring advice from that same delusion.

Lastly, I am happy to say that I have been maintaining a certain level of productivity. My goal is to produce something of value at least twice a month. I am also sitting on two screenplays that will hopefully become films shortly, and I was recently hired to shoot and edit videos about flower arrangement. Hopefully, I will keep the work rolling. Cheers.

(Originally Posted on March 23rd, 2009)

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