Kid tested, mustache approved! The UHF art and movie screening Kickstarter!

UHF FINAL KS CROP

Should I keep my different projects separate?  Should I keep the Franks and Beans blog un-despoiled by non F&B items?  Here’s an idea, faithful reader: why don’t you watch your stinkin’ mouth?

Ugh, that was harsh.  I’m sorry, guys.  This is an especially egregious error as I am trying to raise a little bit of money to show “Weird Al” Yankovic’s 1989 cult classic film “UHF” at a local theater on May 31st of the year.  What was I thinking?  Please, forgive me.

Here’s the details: I recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help offset the licensing and rental fees associated with the screening.  The film will screen at Latrobe 30 Theatre & Cafe, and it will take place the same day as Al’s Greensburg, PA “Mandatory Fun” tour date.  The theater is fewer than 10 miles from the concert venue, so I’m hoping that fans and those attending the concert will want to see the movie earlier in the day.

Weird Al UHF Kickstarter rewards

I’ve got a whole lot of rewards to offer up to anyone who pledges, from 11×17 prints, to pins, to shirts, to a gigantic, movie poster-sized print that is the official image of the campaign and screening:

Weird Al UHF Kickstarter movie poster

You can even get tickets to the show if you live in the area (or feel like a road trip), though you don’t have to attend the movie to get the other items!

I just announced that anyone who pledges at the $10 level or higher will get a Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies inspired sticker at no extra charge!

Weird Al UHF Kickstarter sticker

So if you enjoy Franks and Beans, you’re a fan of Weird Al, or if you’re just a nice person who would feel bad if this dang thing doesn’t succeed, I hope you’ll click the following link to read more about this UHF movie screening Kickstarter project: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jeffmcclelland/uhf-movie-screening/

Even if you can’t pledge anything, I hope you’ll decide to share this project with people that you know.

Blog 51 – 8-Bits of Wonder

8-Bits screen shot 02

In many ways, our pixelated 49th episode, “8-Bits of Wonder”, represents what happens when concepts and ideas meet filming realities.  It also highlights what bringing an established concept into the show can do for the interest other people might have in it, as this is one of our most viewed and most mentioned episodes of the series.

If our backdrop looks unfamiliar to you, then that’s because this was from a time when I lived in the magical realm of Wilmington, North Carolina, a place that combined a slow southern lifestyle with the natural beach terrain and about a thousand separate Waffle Houses (just in case you missed the one the block before) in a Quixotic jumble that perplexes me to this day.  Oh, and I also did like six episodes of “One Tree Hill” when I was there.

8-Bits screen shot 03

Larry, after years of bluster and professing how much he loved the beach, actually flew down for a visit, and it was impossible not to expect to film an episode while he was in town.  Naturally, though, we put off filming until almost the very last minute, didn’t decide on a plot until it was almost too late, and started filming as the sun was starting to set.  Even so, luck was with us and things came together quickly, mostly spurred on by Larry’s obsession of the week, Caitlin McKinstry a Super Mario Bros.-themed app that would play music from the various NES-era games.  It wasn’t long before the episode was born, one in which we hit on many of the classic functions of the game, including great family favorites like fire, greed and death.

8-Bits screen shot 04

Our guest star for this episode is our good friend Caitlin McKinstry, who lived in Wilmington at the time and probably didn’t know what she was getting herself into when she agreed to be on the show.  We naturally gave Caitlin all of the action in this episode.  Who can forget that time where Caitlin looks at her phone (it might actually have been an iPod at this point)?  Or when she kneels down and asks questions?  Or when we see the back of her head in shot after shot?  Classic “Action” McKinstry.

8-Bits screen shot 05

One of the things you might notice is that throughout this episode, it appears that I am running not only through an indeterminate length of space, but also quickly across the fulcrum of time, as the darkness hastily settles in as the episode moves along.  After filming in the residential community (full of people wondering why we were running through it), we drove a few blocks over to the campus of the University of Wilmington, North Carolina, where we searched for a flagpole and wondered what we were going to do about the fact that it was, at this point, nighttime.  Larry helpfully (?) offered up his new smartphone flashlight (he was proud of this) as a source of illumination, but we instead chose the athletic field (a game of baseball going on a few dozen yards over) for the final scene.

8-Bits screen shot 06

One unanticipated problem was just how noisy the hum from these floodlights would be, like some lanky, giant, pole-shaped insect buzzing ominously overhead.  Because of this, we recorded both Caitlin’s line and Larry’s sobs after the fact, something that you’d NEVER KNOW from watching the actual video and hearing the depth of emotion from both of these performances.  I am grateful for the padding on the base of the pole, presumably put there in case someone is flung into it, as Larry didn’t hold much back when performing my last Mario Bros.-themed wish.

My brother-in-law suggested that we should have had a green “1up” mushroom fall from the sky, bringing me back to life at the end of the episode.  This is a fantastic suggestion, and one that we could consider for an alternate ending.  All you have to do is make it up in your head and voilà!  It exists!  We’re not going to hold your hand here, people.

8-Bits screen shot 07

Our “NO!” ending features Larry’s remorse over the loss of his long, professional wrestler-like hair.  You may ask yourself, if Larry was so sad over having to cut his hair, in some Samson-esque folly, why didn’t he just decide to keep it, or why hasn’t he chosen to grow it back in the intervening years between now and when this episode was filmed, more than four years ago?  The answers to this question are “it’s complicated”, “mind your own business”, “instead look at this Goonies shirt”, and “his girlfriend made him do it”.

This is the first episode in the long running (…) season three of Franks and Beans.  Did you get how I just said “running”?  I did that on purpose.  Because the Franks and Beans blog is full of deep meaning.  Also, Larry’s girlfriend made him cut his hair.

Blog 50 – The Rating Game

Ratings Game screenshot 10

The second season of Franks and Beans comes to a close with episode 48: The Rating Game, and Larry and I wanted to go out with as “big” an episode as we could possibly muster.  With no budget and one camera, the idea of “big” is relative, but we wanted to do as much as we could.  Our luck was running high on this day, as we were able to (gasp) shoot at a different location and (coronary) include five guest stars in one of our longest episodes of the series.

Ratings Game screenshot 01

Our first guest was Larry’s mom, who revived her role as “person who hands mail to Larry”.  Judging by how Larry takes the mail out of its envelope, she is apparently also the person who reads Larry’s mail beforehand and then doesn’t do anything to hide the fact that she is committing a federal offense.  Oh, and she interrupts a perfectly improvised scat in the process.

Ratings Game screenshot 02

There are many things that I learned from this episode, which in itself is a bit of a commentary on the show, as Larry and I openly refer to Franks and Beans as a concept, while filming for the show we are discussing (whatever).  The first of these lessons is that I should probably not wear this shirt anymore (which I still have), because a dark black top makes my skin look like it is being deprived of oxygen or something.  Maybe it’s the lighting.  But then there’s Larry, who comparatively looks like a bronzed Adonis (which is a really laughable concept if you think about it) when sitting next to me.

Ratings Game screenshot 04

The Franks and Beans official YouTube ratings have always been an…interesting point of discussion between Larry and myself, and our next guest, “Hardcore Mark” Moncheck (Larry, did Mark give himself that nickname?) illustrates our plot point by laughing at the “NO!” ending to one of our first episodes.  Oh!  And check out that Tree Hugger shirt!  It almost constitutes a guest appearance on its own.

Ratings Game screenshot 05

Larry’s beloved Jeep was literally traded in in the “Cash for Clunkers” program, and here we debut Larry’s new-ish Honda.  I love the scene where Larry and I, after a bout of depression, bolt out of the door, putting clothing accessories on as we run.  The “new car” joke is a callback to, among other episodes, “High School”, and is probably not that funny, but Franks and Beans is nothing if not self referential.

Ratings Game screenshot 07

Let’s take a minute to talk about the day that this episode was filmed, an early spring day in which Larry and I drove up to Homestead and the Dave & Buster’s parking lot, and all of the favors we called in to make this happen.  This day in March just happened to be the day of my brother-in-law’s wedding rehearsal.  Rather than try to be a supportive groomsman and help make an important day less stressful, I thought it’d be a good idea to get everyone to film an episode of Franks and Beans, shooting some scenes like the one pictured above as others went about fulfilling obligations.

The groom-to-be was Josh, known to the Franks and Beans word (as explained earlier: Mark) as “Replacement Larry” from the episode, uh, “Replacement Larry”, even took the time to be in this damn episode as everyone else waited on him to start eating.  After his scene, which took two takes, he ran very fast back into the building where he was probably yelled at.

Ratings Game screenshot 08

Josh is a well-connected individual, and by that I mean something other than his obvious ties to organized crime.  He was able to put me in touch with two people who are ACTUALLY ACTORS (I cannot stress this enough) and were in town, from Los Angeles, for the wedding.  First up is Heather Comstock, who, among other things, has at times painstakingly and meticulously entered in closed captioning text for various industry productions (her IMDB page proves that I am not a liar).  Heather, without ever having actually met either of us, graciously provided the line “Franks and Beans sounds like a gay porno troupe”, which to her (and, I guess, everyone else) had absolutely no context.  The fact that she did not know who we were probably helped in getting her to agree to be on the show.

In any case, I was pretty stunned at how well she acted out the scene, which caused me to be 1) embarrassed at how poorly Larry and I act, and 2) a bit starstruck at how well someone else could do it.  To this day, Larry tells me that he thinks I have a crush on this poor girl, to which I have no reply other than to remind Larry that there exists plenty of blackmail-able information on his part as well.

Rating Game screenshot 13

Next up is Matt Easton, of whom we discusses extensively in our last post, so I won’t bother with the obsequiousness here, other than to say that Matt is a legitimate actor who might one day have his SAG membership revoked due to his appearance on Franks and Beans.  Check out his IMDB page.

Oh, and he was the best man in Josh’s wedding.

Ratings Game screenshot 11

Second only to the “gay porno troupe” line must be “#$%$ you, Frankenberry”, made in the quickly fading light as unsuspecting people, just looking for a night out to distract them from their terrible, stress-filled existences, walked by and into Franks and Beans immortalit as unintentional extras.

The idea of my character being more concerned with views for our videos than losing my wallet or, say, grand theft auto, was a bit of an understated end to a more ostentatious episode, but hopefully it wasn’t lost on anyone.  And it’s nice to know that I still look deathly pale in that damn black shirt from beginning to end.

Overall, the point is, watch Franks and Beans.  Watch it, damn you, and tell your friends to watch it.  There are more than seven billion people on this earth.  Is it too much to ask that at least half of them watch out show?  I don’t think it is.

Ratings Game screenshot 12

Our “NO!” ending is actually a “YES!” ending, as Larry and I switch roles for the final episode of all seasons.  That might not have been clear earlier, as before this there was only…one…such ending.  Larry was totally jealous of me as we finished editing, late into the evening.  “You always get the best ones”, he said, which I suppose meant that he was impressed with our work on “The Rating Game”, but I just took as sour grapes.  #$%$ you, Frankenberry.

Franks and Beans Actor Spotlight #1: Matt Easton

Ratings Game screen shot 02

Who: Matt Easton
Episode: 48 – The Rating Game
Character: Sycophantic Thief

Matt Easton 01

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Profession: Actor/Producer
Wait, really?: Yes, why do you think I created this post if not to marvel at the fact that Franks and Beans convinced someone with actual acting credits to appear in an episode?
So you’re saying he’s acted in a legitimate capacity before, not just like in a high school play: Yes.  That is what I’m saying.
Does he have a listing on IMBD? Huh?: Yes.  He’s actually listed first among all of the Matt Eastons:

Matt Easton IMDB

Holy…is this seriously from IMDB?: Dammit!  Yes!  What don’t you trust me?  Here’s the damn link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2362279/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
I did not expect this.  I am honestly taken back.  This is pretty cool: I agree!  Is there a question in there?
What kind of stuff has he done?: He was one of the actors who played “LizardMan” in “LizardMan: The Terror of the Swamp”.
…is that a real thing?: Look, I’m not going to confirm every answer I give.  Believe it or don’t.
Okay, okay…I’m sorry: He’s also done some motion capture for a few video games:

Matt Easton 02

Oh man, that’s so cool!  I’ve always wanted to do that!: Yeah, it’s pretty neat.
You mentioned that he’s not just an actor, but also a producer: He even started his own company: Legacy Features, based out of Burbank, California.
So…how did you get him to be on an episode of Franks and Beans? He’s good friends with the guy who plays Replacement Larry.  And we got lucky.

Ratings Game screen shot 01

Do you think if he gets super famous, other people will watch the Franks and Beans episode?: I…really hope so.  Maybe they’ll watch it and think, “what the hell kind of deal with the devil did these guys make to get Matt Easton on their Internet show?”
If he gets super famous, will he…put you in a movie?: C’mon, man.

…I hope.
How many times did you have to film the “*#$@ you, Frankenberry” shot?: Ugh, too many times.  I thought someone was going to report us.  Matt was shouting the f-word in a crowded parking lot as confused onlookers walked by.

Ratings Game screen shot 03

What is he working on now that he’s moved away from his lucrative career as a Franks and Beans guest star?: Hey.  Don’t be mean.
But seriously, what is he working on?: He’s producing the film “The Summer I Died“, currently in pre-production.  He’s a production coordinator for the upcoming “Savage Mountain” film.  He has a role in the film “Darling Nikki“, due out in May 2015.
Think he might be interested in the FUBAR film rights?: Maybe he’ll Google his name, find this page, read up on FUBAR and immediately fall in love with it!
That’d be something!: Yeah, but, you know.
Do you have any pictures of him with a mustache?: Actually, I do:

Matt Easton 03