It’SURREAL Fine Time – Episode 7

For the past year I have been creating a monthly web series with the intention of opening up the world of Surrealism and filmmaking to everyone. The goal of this half-hour web series is to increase the appreciation and understanding of these powerful art forms.

In this episode I share highlights from Mr. Right and Bizzaro’s two-man show at the Magic Castle. Plus a Surreal activity you can do!


Creating Compelling Content

Engaging viewers with your video starts with creating compelling content. When I am hired to make a video for a client, my main goal is to create a video that will last them for several years and give them a return on their investment.  I always strive to make every project different than the last. Sometimes that can prove to be more ambitious than I think.

We recently completed a promo video for San Francisco’s #1 Female Comedy Magician, Heather Rogers.  Heather and I began discussing her need for a new video last December when I filmed two of her stage shows in San Jose. We worked together developing a concept, then storyboarding, shooting additional video segments, creating custom 3D animated graphics, and editing. 

Heather wanted a video that showcased all aspects of her work as a magician, comedian, juggler, singer, and dancer.  I wanted to make sure the video captured the high-energy enthusiasm of Heather’s show, while maintaining a professional structure and style that would appeal to the corporate market.  Watch the final video to see how it all came together.

Train of Thought

A very inspiring piece of CineMagic by Leo Bridle and Ben Thomas. The paper models and animation were created by hand, not CGI. It is a simple story but told very well. The photo cutout collage look gives the film a dream-like feeling.

And here is the making of, to give you a sense of the thought and careful precision that went into making this:

Pioneers of CineMagic – J. Stuart Blackton

James Stuart Blackton was known in vaudeville as the “Komikal Kartoonist” because of his ability to sketch drawings on an easel so rapidly right in front of the audience. Today we see something similar to this commonly referred to as “speed painting”. In the late 1890’s Blackton began collaborating with Thomas Edison, who at the time had the first film studio in America – The Black Maria.  James Stuart Blackton went on to form his own film studio called Vitagraph Studios.  In the year 1900, Blackton and Edison collaborated on a project called The Enchanted Drawing.

One of the major reasons I love this particular film, aside from being entertaining and innovative, is that it involves the magical quality of a drawing coming to life. I have always loved that premise. The “drawing to life” concept has many variations in magic – of drawings animating, taking on a life of their own – I think it is so cool to see this brought to life in a film made in 1900.