Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Da Yankeeze!!!

This is my tribute to the "typical" Yankee fan; the guys and girls who live, breathe, eat and... well. I intended this to be a web promo to coincide with the beginning of baseball season, but after shooting it, we had numerous scheduling and personal setbacks. I'm glad it's here now, but to be honest the setbacks only gave me more time to criticize myself for the choices we made.

The idea was based on an incident that occurred on a subway platform during the 2001 World Series. Derek Jeter had just hit his historic "Mr. November" home run to cap a beautiful comeback and I was waiting for the 6 train at 59th Street when this strange man, who resembled Rev. Jim Ignatowski from Taxi in every conceivable way, wobbled up to me and asked for change. When I told him I didn't have any, he asked me if I was following the World Series. Yeah, I watched it on the big TV at school. He crept up closer and leered at me with a glazed, yet crazed look on his face...

"...da Yankees!!!"

After a purely awkward moment of silence, he repeatedly yells GO YANKEES, GO YANKEES!! at the top of his lungs as he stalked off along the platform. I stared at him, slightly aghast and slightly amused as he pretty much went off the deep end. Unforgettable moment, obviously.

We shot this overnight in mid-March before the new Stadium opened. Surprisingly, it was rather quiet; we only had a few people come near our setup. Security didn't chase us off as I was afraid of, and the police didn't bother us at all. We were in and out of the location (Jerome Avenue under the 4 train on the east side of the new stadium) in two hours. Considering that it wasn't where we intended to shoot when I wrote it (we were supposed to shoot at an empty subway station), it turned out to be a blessing that we were able to get so close.

Our leads, Robert Youngren (Creepy Guy) and Trey Albright (Regular Guy) were a real pleasure to work with and eager to give their best. I was working with Eric Phelan, our DP, for the first time, but he brought to ACs and good guys whom I already knew (Jamal Khaldi and Irv Miller). Chris Allen returned as my AD and kept us in good working order, Kristofer Sharkey did the heavy administrative lifting and everything went down without a hitch.

What happened after that? Well, first I didn't get my dailies. They were burned on the wrong type of disk, and I couldn't see a thing. Then my DP was working on another project, so we had to wait for him to be available again. During this time, Chris tried to edit, but again became frustrated and we decided to turn the editing over to Eric for when he came back from his other project. Fortunately, Eric had already worked on a rough draft, so polishing it up would be a snap.

Then my uncle went into the hospital. With this on my hands, I postponed our next shoot and tended to him before and after his surgery, which turned out to be life-saving. Happily, he recently left the hospital and is recuperating at a nursing home doing some PT before he returns home. With that, I returned to the project with Eric and we made a polished edit, inserting the animation at the end that I created by playing around with Flash.

After some soul-searching among the producers (plus some final editing), we finally got it up on Youtube. I have to admit, I was ready to reshoot the whole thing after listening to the numerous complaints about the footage, but with Eric's skill with Final Cut, I think this makes at least a passable web promo, and something that I wouldn't mind having on the reel.

With things beginning to settle down personally, we're getting ready to shoot Part 2 of this string; a tribute to old and new Yankee Stadium and a subtle dig at our crosstown rivals. I'm hoping we can actually get some cooperation with the Yanks and the city for this one as we have a sort-of complicated set up that involves setting down some lights. Hopefully we won't have to course-correct as much as we did with this, and I can assure you'll get a belly laugh from it. By the way, if you should like to support our efforts to produce these shorts on a regular basis, send me an email with an inquiry about how you'd like to help; be it manpower, resources or even networking.

Lastly, I'd like to dedicate this and the sequel to this (coming soon) to all Yankee fans; in particular the fans at Bronx Banter. Leave comments, forward to people you know (or don't know, that's fine too) and enjoy the clip! >;)

Da Yankeeze!!!

Cast -

Trey Albright - Regular Guy
Robert Youngren - Creepy Guy


Director - William Jackson
D.P. - Eric Phelan
A.C. - Jamal Khaldi
A.C. - Irv Miller
Assoc. Producer - Kristofer Sharkey
Producer - Chris Allen

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