Two Easy Steps ... and Three Hard Ones

I spent yesterday afternoon filming a clown skit with family. This lovely outing was coordinated, of course, by none other than Erin Riley, clown extraordinaire.  The skit is part of her audition for the Big Top Tour of Circus Smirkus. She'll eventually post the whole thing to her blog (linked above), but for now we are still in production, so you will all have to wait in agony and suspense :)  

It was a lot of fun, and I was really impressed with the finished product, so I thought I'd walk you through the process.


So here we, are: How to Film a Clown Skit in Five Easy Steps!!


Step 1 : Write the skit!

Erin took care of this. She wrote her whole audition tape, in fact. It's a combination of accordion playing, club juggling, hat juggling, and two Chaplin-inspired silent movie skits.


Step 2 : Rehearse the skit!

This is the painful part where ideas meet reality. Inevitably, conflict ensues. Stuff doesn't work. Re-writes. Yuck. Which brings us to ...


Step 3 : Argue about the skit!

Ah yes, the joys of artistic differences. Erin won most of the arguments. I won a few. Life goes on, and eventually we come to ...


Step 4 : Film the skit!

Our camera of choice: Papa's iPhone. Filming probably only took an hour or so. Two or three takes and bif bam boom, we're done.


Step 5: Edit the skit!

It's a modern miracle, I tell you. The editing took Chris less than an hour, and it looks AMAZING. He cut together the four different scenes and switched it to black and white to give it that Chaplin-y look Erin was going for.


Five easy steps, and voila - clown skit. The last two step are truly revolutionary. Never in the history of the world has it been this easy to capture and share art. Never.


Film processing, film developing, then film editing: cutting strips and taping them together. Buying film, buying a camera, renting a dark room. Ugh. Can you even imagine?


Versus today: two hours, for free, using a phone and a laptop. It's magical.


All these beautiful tools, they make those last two steps remarkably easy.


They don't however, offer any help on those first three steps.


Apple, unfortunately, cannot not help us here. There is no shortcut around creativity. It's a an old technology, requiring a frontal lobe, a spark of inspiration, and a whole lot of guts.


And unfortunately, no miracle spawned in silicon valley is ever going to make that any easier.


Art will always require strength. It will always require bravery. It will always require us.



Five easy step? Not really.


Two easy steps. Three hard ones. No shortcuts.