Thursday, January 27, 2011

writing episode 3

It hasn't even been a week and I'm already putting into practice that which I learned from the last episode. Episode 3, which does not have a name yet, begins with an opening sequence that is a bit unattached from the main story -- not unlike episode 1.

I was ready to move on from the opening sequence, type in "TITLE CARD," and move on to the meat of the episode, when I realized I could milk sequence just a little bit more. I could spend just a little bit more time with Alexander and really drive home the point I'm trying to make. One more scene and the audience will truly understand what's going on.

So I did. I spent a little extra time, caressed the sequence, and made it something special. I am now really excited to shoot it and fully understand the beginning, the middle, and the end. It'll be a great sequence and I can't wait to share it with you.

Just . . . not . . . yet.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Fogg Blogg

And for my 100th blog post . . .

Kelly and I have decided to start a blog that is dedicated to our pursuit of parenthood. It is called The Next Chapter and I would like to invite all of you who follow me here to follow us there as well.

After much thought, contemplation, and prayer, we've decided to pursue adoption. We'll chronicle all the ins and outs of the process there. If you have any questions about the process, you can ask us there. If you think you can help us, The Next Chapter is the place for you to go to find out what we need. At some point, I'm sure the blog will transform from an adoption blog to a parenting blog, so why not join here at the beginning?

Anyway. It's there and I'd love for you to join us on this next scary, exciting chapter of our lives.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reflections on Episode 1

Of The Ruffians. I don't have time or patience to reflect on episode 1 of Star Wars.

I'm waiting for episode 1 to upload to Vimeo, so I'll take this moment to reflect on some of the lessons I learned on the set (and in post production) on this, our first Ruffian outing.

  1. Sound continues to be my Achilles' heel. We filmed on a cold and windy day and so I turned the sound sensitivity down on our recorder (the amazing H4n) and while it cut down on sound, it also gave me a recording that I could do very little with in post. So while this episode represents the best I've ever done with sound, it also shows that we have a long way to go in sound design.
  2. I need to learn to listen to my crew. When the DP says "this is hard," or "it's too cold," I need to respect those opinions and not brush them aside. When I get on a set, I become the production's cheerleader. My intent is to keep everyone pumped up and jazzed to be there, but sometimes I just come off as a bullish jerk.
  3. I need to have a full and better understanding of what each scene and sequence is about before filming it. To understand this, re-watch the pre-title sequence. The idea behind that is, that girl offended Charlie in the pool. He's going to tell her off. But I want to fool the audience and make them think he's either going to stalk her or kill her. But just when you think he's going to make his move, he trips and she "gets away." The way we filmed it, however, skips the story. We have our set-up and then move straight to the punchline without any development. That sequence could have been much stronger and it's my fault. I didn't see the story in my head well enough to understand how it needed to be shot.
Those are the big three. I could make an unofficial fourth out of the danger of handheld camea work, but I still like it. That walk and talk is a little more shaky than I would like, but it still works.

I insist that every production be educational. I don't think that will ever go away, but I think it's even more important on this level, where I'm making these shows out of nothing but my dime, my time, and my friends' patience.

Here's to episode 2!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ruff Bloopers: Episode 1

RUFF BLOOPERS: Episode 1 from Scott Fogg on Vimeo.

oh, the wackiness.

Episode 1: First Impressions

The Ruffians, episode 1: First Impressions from Scott Fogg on Vimeo.

Charlie and Alexander are just two hitmen trying to make an honest living.

Starring Scott Fogg, Corey Newmyer, Rachel Komorowski, and with a special appearance by Jordyn Henderson.

Like us? Find us on Facebook! or visit

the music of episode 1

We used the following songs in episode 1 of The Ruffians. I want to provide links so that if you like them, you can find them and purchase them.

James Horner has been one of my favorite composers since high school. His score to Braveheart just about changed my life. Episode 1 begins with his haunting "Main Title" from Patriot Games. I've had this album in my collection for probably fifteen years. The whole thing's great and very Horner-esque. You can find the album on Amazon.

During the discussion, "The Drop" by Harry Gregson-Williams plays. It's from his score to Man on Fire. If you haven't sat down and listened to any of Gregson-Williams' music, you're really missing out. He composed the scores to Spy Games, the first two Narnia movies, Man on Fire, and contributed to The Rock (along with Hans Zimmer and Nick Glennie-Smith, if memory serves). I don't remember where I bought this album (I think I found it at a second-hand music shop), but you can find it on Amazon.

The "slow-motion, bad-ass walking" music that closes the episode is "Young Men Dead," by The Black Angels. This is their official website. I purchased the song off iTunes (after, yes, admittedly, hearing it in the Fable III commercial).

I highly recommend them. Add them to your playlists today.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spitting Teeth

So I was down in South America, in some little town in some little country. A dentist there was doing something he called "binding," in which an apparatus is secured onto someone's head and two hammer-like devices crush the back part of the jaw. The end result is a jawline that starts very small and then gets wider as it approaches the chin.

I was shocked. It looked horrific. But the dentist explain that not only was the tradition of binding connected to several regional religious practices, it was actually a sign of great prosperity and was considered wildly attractive. One little boy disagreed. He did not want to go through the binding process.

So, to show him that there was nothing to be afraid of, I strapped the apparatus on and had my own jaw bound. I immediately didn't care about the local custom or that people in that area were going to think I was good-looking. I was spitting teeth -- literally. The dentist who oversaw the procedure said I would get over it and laughed it off.

I ran up and down the halls, looking for another dentist. My teeth kept falling out. Every time I spoke, I spit another tooth out. I was collecting them. I could feel them continually getting looser and falling out of my head. If I tried to whistle, I'd spit three teeth out.

Finally I woke up and could put the whole nightmare behind me.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Drafts & Breaks

Taking a break from writing 3 scripts.

Since rehearsals began on episode 1, First Impressions, I've been tweaking the dialog. There's a joke that wasn't working in the final scene. There was some exposition that needed to be added in the second scene. The entire opening sequence didn't work and was confusing.

In between drafts of episode 1, I've been working on subsequent drafts of episode 2, Small Mercies. The struggle with that script is all about finding the right tone. It helped once I identified what tone I wanted, because then I was able to sit back and figure out what events and bits of dialogue would help me arrive at said tone. And it was at work tonight that I finally figured out how to end the episode. And I'm sure it'll all change once rehearsals begin.

The final episode, episode 6, is still a very distant thing. But I'm slowly drafting the opening sequence of it as well. It's a lighter, sweeter opening than any of the other episodes, so I escape to it when the darkness and/or cynicism of the other episodes get me down.

It's coming together nicely and I'm excited to see how it all turns out but I'm most curious to see/hear people's reactions to it. It's rather unlike anything else I've ever done before.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Young Tippi Hedren

I was taking some video games out to the floor this morning and walked past a little girl. She was sitting backwards on one of our benches, staring out the window. She jabbed a finger at the window and without taking her eyes off whatever it was on the other side of the window, she began to whine.

"Evil biiiiiiiirrrrrddies!"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Other Mister Fogg

Before the holidays hit us, I had been swimming. Now that we're in the free and clear and I'm not attending parties, gatherings, and gift-giving festivities every other night (all of which conspire to throw me off my groove), I've resumed swimming.

I swim at the Hulsey Wellness Center at Southern Adventist University. To enter, you have to "buzz in" using a finger print scanner. I went in, knowing the receptionist was going to tell me that my membership had expired and I was going to need to pay. Instead she looked at her computer, a little confused, and said, "try again."

I did.

Her eyebrows furrowed, she clicked, and said, "try again."

I did.

She shook her head, her dark ponytail whipping this way and that. "So weird," she said. "The computer keeps saying you're someone you're not. Hold on. Let me go get my boss."

She gets up, bounds down from her pedastel, and disappears into her boss' office. Disappear might be a strong word, as the wall that divided her boss' office from the atrium was entirely glass. He dropped what he was doing and followed his young employee back to the desk.

"It keeps saying he's Mister Fogg -- but he's not Mister Fogg."

Her boss smiled. I didn't know his name, but I recognized him. We had seen each other in here before. "There's a simple way to fix this," he said to her and then turned to me. "Are you Mister Fogg?"

"I am." I nodded with a smile.

"No you're not!" the worker accused.

"Well I'm a Mister Fogg."

"Oh," she said, blushing and sinking down into her chair. "You're Thomas Fogg?"

"Thomas Scott Fogg," I replied. "Yes I am. Mister Fogg is my father."

"So sorry," she said, refusing to make eye contact. "Go right in."

Monday, January 3, 2011

updated Ruffian logo

Updated the logo with the font I used in the teaser trailer as well as generally distressing the background, to reflect the darker tone the scripts are taking.