Friday, January 12, 2007

The Return of CageMatch!

Last night my CageMatch show returned to the DSI Comedy Theater after a two month absence. We took a break because, well, I needed the rest from producing videos each and every week (a lot more work than it looks), and because I had trouble motivating people to come in and participate as Challengers. So now we've moved to Thursdays at 8, and will only be on every OTHER week instead of every week, which is cool.

This week saw champions The Darkness defending their title against Zach Ward's one man show as "Silence Dogood". This was particularly interesting, as The Darkness is an all-spoken performance done in, well, the darkness, and Silence Dogood would be an all-action performance done, well, silently. I really wasn't sure what to expect of Zach's show, but it came off really well, with audience participation, a great music selection (Bolero), and some hilarious interactions.

Go watch the video first, and then come back and we'll talk about it.

This was the first video I had done in a while. I was planning on using Final Cut and my new Mac Pro system, but to be quite frank, I wasn't too excited about the premiere of CageMatch, and waited until the last minute to do the video, so I just defaulted back to iMovie. I did redo the "DSI identity" bits that open and close all the videos, to reflect the new round logo.

For a start, I didn't want to admit that CageMatch had closed down for two months. No, for storyline purposes, CageMatch is FAR too big a phenomenon for that! Instead, I came up with a fictitious world tour for the champions. This gave me an excuse to do one of my favourite things: making up group names and creating identity screens for them. I pulled out a map of the world, picked out some of the major countries, and searched Google Images for odd pictures. I wanted to get in a lot of important places in wrestling history, which is why Iran, India, Japan, and Germany are in there. I really wanted to have a team called the Grenoble Giants, but couldn't find a picture that inspired me. I did find this great picture when I looked up "giant", though. One of the funny pitfalls of this project, however, is that when I searched for names like "ninjas" or "sheiks" for my make-believe comedy groups, I kept stumbling over pictures of REAL improv groups! Like, repeatedly. Weird. Anyway, once I saw the pictures of the girls in red ninja costumes, I had to use that because I knew Corey would be amused by it. I love the name, Scarlet Sector Ninja, which just came to me as I was doing the voiceover.

I really liked Zach's team name of Silence Dogood, since it comes from an alias Ben Franklin used when writing articles. UNFORTUNATELY, Zach then revealed that he picked up the name through that most heinous of films, National Treasure. FORTUNATELY, that gave me the idea for the second half of the video. I found a huge picture of the Declaration of Independence on the web, typed up some text on the back, and printed it in colour on both sides. (Ah, the ridiculous lengths I go to for this ridiculousness!) Then I had loads of fun setting up the video camera in my workroom, laying down a green felt magician's pad as a base, and arranging various folders from my wrestling costume files for a setting. I did a lot of takes, but used this particular one for the video because I was so amused by the cheesy "hand acting" I did when I "discovered" the Declaration of Independence in the folder. Go watch it again. I think it's funny. And yes, I'm such an anal idiot, I went and put on a dress shirt for a video that just shows my hands, just so I could look more "authentic" as a researcher. Haw.

The identity screens of all the international Challengers, as well as the Silence Dogood logo, can be found in the CageMatch Flickr Set. BTW, the text at the bottom of the German team's screen was derived by typing something like "we always get our asses kicked" into Google's language translator. I tried typing it back in and retranslating it, and it came back all crazy. Try it if you like.

We'll be back in two weeks with another show and another Challenger. And don't miss the huge CageMatch extravaganza at the Dirty South Improv Festival on Friday, February 9 at 11:00. It's going to be an hour and a half of comedy competition, as three teams from around the country battle it out for the right to face the ten-time CageMatch Champions, Siegel-Prov! Mark your calendars now!

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