When you want to produce a holiday-themed sketch and want it completed by said holiday, it’s usually best to plan several months in advance. That would be the sensible approach. Alas, I am not you. The idea for Harry the Christmas Fairy hit the last week of November. I should’ve put it aside until 2016. Like a dolt, I went for it anyway.
Luckily, Shane, my usual DP, was available, as was Brad, for whom the role was written. (Side note: The whole thing started as a riff on an old character I did for Friday Night Fu; once I realized Brad could do the character better than I did, that’s when I went from “maybe” to “yes, let’s.” If you can’t tell, he’s a wrestler on the local circuit with a gift for improvisational gab, a talent which served perfectly for the sort of maniacal pitchman the sketch needed.)
Also luckily, I have some friends who are willing to throw their children in front of a camera. Even better, two of those friends let us use their house for the shoot. (As punishment for their generosity, I put them on screen.)
We knew timing would force this to be a run-and-gun shoot, making up shots on the fly, setting up lighting in double time. I had no time to assemble a proper crew, so I enlisted my daughter to run sound; she had a one minute tutorial to prep her for some fast learn-on-the-job. Not too shabby, kiddo.
The edit, too, was a rush job, completed not by my go-to Matt, but by myself, with outdated editing software, all in hopes of cutting down the churn-out time. Cheaper graphics, simpler cuts, but hey, it made the deadline.
The whole thing reminds me of the old clips we made for the Fu, always made with the looming clock of a live broadcast. And dagnabbit, we made it.
A final thought: The small scale of the thing convinced me early on to treat it as a semi-secret present to our fans – a video Christmas card, if you will. (Please ignore the ridiculousness of treating dozens of patiently appreciative friends as “fans”). We kept announcements of its production offline until it was time to reveal the finished product. It’s an idea I enjoyed. Maybe I’ll do it again.
But with more planning.
copyright 2015 David Cornelius all rights reserved