Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Monkey Who Would Take Flight

“I want to fly” the monkey said, looking up to the sky above. His mother looked at him and shook her head.

“You can’t fly, you’re a monkey. Be happy in your tree.” She said.

The monkey sighed. “Trees only go so high. I want to go above the trees, above the giraffes, and above the whole jungle.” His mother just looked at him.

“That’s a dumb dream; you can never do it. Live sensibly and have dreams worth dreaming.” She scolded him. The mother then jumped away into some trees and the monkey was left to himself.

“Live sensibly?” He repeated to himself. Dejected, the monkey climbed up to his tree and made his way to the top. From there, he could see the jungle for miles. He could see the lions lying down under the shade of a lone tree, escaping from the heat of afternoon sun. He could see the gazelles making their way to the nearest river, and he could see the crocodiles waiting in anticipation for the coming meal. He could see more than most of the animals of the jungle, but he wanted more. The monkey looked up and saw the birds above flying, free of not only the ground but the branches of trees. The monkey sighed. “Have dreams worth dreaming.”

With his spirit slightly broken, the monkey began to make his way down the tree. Before he could reach the bottom, however, he heard a moan coming from another part of the jungle. Curious, the monkey leapt from tree to tree, making his way closer to the sound. Soon, he came to the source of the moaning. There, stumbling through the jungle, was an elephant. The monkey noticed that every time the elephant stepped with one of his legs he made a sound of pain and lifted the leg as soon as it touched the earth.

“Are you hurt?” the monkey asked, with concern.

“I am, yes.” answered the elephant.

“What happened?”

“I accidentally stepped on a turtle and now I have a piece of its shell stuck in my foot. I tried getting it out, but I can’t seem to reach it or get hold of it.”

“I could get it out.” The monkey suggested.

“Would you, please?”

The monkey hopped to the ground and ran over to the elephant. The elephant raised his foot and the monkey, seeing the wound, grabbed the piece of turtle shell and, using all his strength, pulled it out. The elephant sighed with great relief. “Oh, thank you. You have no idea how much that hurt.”

“I’m happy I could help.” The monkey replied and began to go on his way.

“Wait!” called the elephant, “Is there anything I can do to repay you?”

The monkey laughed with a sigh. “The only thing I wish right now is that I could fly and be as free as the birds.”

“I think I can help!” the elephant said happily, “You are light and small enough for me to toss in the air with my trunk! I could throw you into the sky; you might even fly higher than the birds!”

The monkey jumped and laughed, his eyes wide with joy. “Would you? Could you get me to the sky?”

The elephant chuckled. “I would be happy to!” Grabbing the monkey with his trunk, the elephant threw the monkey with all his strength straight into the air. The monkey went higher and higher, past the tree tops, over the heads of all the animals, even further than the birds. The monkey laughed and flapped his arms, feeling the freedom he had longed for. He was no longer bound to the earth. He was living his dream.

He took such joy in the flight that he didn’t notice the fall and inevitable crash to earth.

-Eric Mikols

Monday, March 22, 2010

Young Avengers #1

Here we have the video I will now call "Eric's Shame".
I don't really hate this video. What I don't like is how popular it has become compared to the others. The humor is funny, but not that funny. I only made one more episode after this, and I've decided that I will not return for a third. But, how did it happen in the first place?
I was walking through Wal-Mart (as you do when you live in Haverhill) and I was going through the toy section (as you do when you are in your twenties) and I was checking out the clearance section (as you do when you have no money). Most of the stuff they had was junk but then I noticed a hidden treasure. Sitting on the shelf was the Young Avengers set for just $20! I had just read the series and was in love with the concept, so I bought the box with haste.
Later, I was hanging around in my apartment and looking at these guys on my entertainment set and I was wondering, "What the heck do I do now?" Then I started thinking how I could use them in a video, and what kind of video they would be in. The one idea I kept coming back to was the idea of a talk show, set up like the view, in which nothing ever gets resolved. I felt I had struck gold.
I grabbed a painting a friend made for me, set up on my kitchen counter and went to work. Ironlad would lead the group's discussion, Patriot would take the negative side, Hulkling would take the positive, and Wiccan would be an idiot. For the first episode, I would bring up the discussion of global warming, having just finished "State of Fear" by Micheal Crichton.
THe problems in this video are many. The concept is strong but the execution of the idea fell apart. A crappy set, poor movement for the action figures, and the jokes fall flat more often than not. For some reason, I couldn't get Hulkling's voice to stay the same! To really work, this idea needed better production values. I think a real set, with couches or plants, would have added. I also think that this idea (like others), needed a script. There are funny jokes in this video, but they get lost in the improve conversation.
As I said, I did make a second one, which was even longer, but the problems were the same if not worse. This series is done and hopefully I've learned from it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Humanity's Last Midnight

This video is one of my remake videos. As in, I made the original on Windows Movie Maker during my first two months of editing. The original was my last video of this era and it was one of my best, I thought.
So, when I started editing again with my Adobe, I was interested in going back and redoing some of my better music videos, this being one of the candidates. I started this is with one real goal in mind, to make a better video. I wanted the action to really sync up with the music and I wanted the video to move quick.
This song, "Mitternact", was introduced to me by my Uncle John. For some reason, I got this stuck in my head and couldn't stop listening to the thing. I would go to work, put the CD in, and listen to it for hours straight, wondering how I could use the song in any kind of video. It didn't help that my uncle showed me this video, leaving me thinking I couldn't do anything worth doing with the song. But then, I started thinking of the last Matrix movie, which had been a huge disappointment to me, but did have some pretty intense action shots that looked like someone had used the concept art straight in the movie.
I decided I wasn't going to focus on anything in the movies but the very last battles of the last film. I didn't want to focus on the heroes except for Neo and Smith. For Zion and the Nebuchadnezzar, I was just going to show how intense there struggle was, all the while the real fate is being determined by a one on one fist fight.
Syncing certain things in the video were unbelievably fun. Any instance I timed the Neo/Smith fight well was a joy. I loved syncing all the punches and water effects to the song's clashing. There were also a few accidental moments of syncing, such as the ship hitting two poles in time with the beat.
There is of course a very big problem for me in this video; the ending. I want to blame it one the fact that I was sick and I just wanted to be done, but the I had a pretty lame ending in the original version. There was just something about the way all the fights ended that I couldn't really grasp in showing well. It all seems a bit rushed in this video, as if I was ready to move on to the next video (which has been the case before).
Overall, this is another doodle in my sketch book. I learned some techniques and made a video that was somewhat enjoyable. I have gotten better at these things and without this video and its faults, I might not have learned.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dancing in the Apartment

Don't expect to much explanation for this one.
I was kind of a streak of making videos one after another before this and I was getting a kick out of just doing anything and everything I thought of. I was watching my sister and brother this day and entertaining them was not the easiest thing (since they're both genius).
I said, "Hey! Let's make a dance video! To this song!"
Jordan said, "Yea!"
We made this video.
I don't claim to be the focus of interest in this video, Jordan is the attraction here. This was the first time he started dancing in front of the camera and we try to get him doing it as often as we can. He's so small in this video, and has that dorky-yet too young to judge appeal.
As for the the intro to this video, about presidents and such, it's all random and we just wanted to hook the viewer.
But, hey, just because I don't have much to say about this video doesn't mean it isn't awesome. Because it is. It's just, this video stands as how my love for completely random, plot-less videos can sometimes work.