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  • Writer's pictureDevokees


I did it! After a long hiatus... I released a new episode of Movie Night! Please check it out if you haven't already. Share, like and subscribe if you can! It would be greatly appreciated... also last but not least... enjoy it!

For those that don't know, Movie Night is a satirical entertainment based talk show. It's like the daily show with 1/100th of the budget. It was something I came up with in film school and after 10 years of putting it together piece by piece I finally had the set I always imagined, well kind of. It was smaller scale, and not all the camera's were the same brand, or quality. But I tried and it was some what successful.

I wanted it to feel like the daily show or letterman. I didn't want to be sat in front of a low quality lap top camera spouting jokes with jump cuts in between. Even though that was the norm at the time and still is to this day. I'd rather keep true to my original idea of trying to make it feel as much like a late night program as possible. I figured have a quick welcome, a few head line jokes satirizing current events in the entertainment industry, a goofy story or two, a review of a product, taste test candy or food and of course the interview. I wanted the interviews on the show to be short, five to ten minutes asking a few questions about what ever they are promoting, popcorn questions, and of course a quiz show similar to five questions. I wanted to make a sure that was both funny and educational... as well as cool and helpful to artists. I had big dreams of doing give aways, and trying to give struggling artist's an opportunity. I loved it.

Over the years I began acquiring cameras and tripods, pieces of gear for it. I always pictured it as a 3 camera set up. Possibly 4 cameras. I had a g7, a t2i and a canon eos m 1. All the camera's differed in video quality and aspect ratio, etc. I had my mate Josh lynch come over and check out the set and give me some tips. At the time he had done some engineering work on the WMDT set. The idea was to run all the cameras to a switcher so I could easily have some switch the show live instead of recording on 3 - 4 cameras. Black magic had just released a switcher called the atem mini. I ran that to a shuttle 2 to record all the footage onto. I wanted to avoid editing off cards.. it was extra work. I had bought another eos m to be my 3rd camera and figured my main wide would be the g7 and I'd shoot in 4k so I could export in 1080 and do post movements if I had to. I had all the cameras on tripods. Camera 1 would be on a pocket jib, and camera two had a slider dolly. I wanted it to feel professional and have movement. Also all the tripods were on dollys. I went from HDMI from the camera to the switcher, only issue is the EOS M don't have a clean HDMI out, it showed all kinds of stuff on the screen. I was crushed. So I figured no problem, use the EOS M's as Cameras for news stories. Something that some one can take out and shoot a decent story with. So I started compiling gear for that, stick mic with flag, tripod, cables, etc. I still needed two studio cameras with clean HDMI. I did some research and found two camcorders by panasonic. The reviews were rave and some of the test footage looked great. I napped two. They sucked... they didn't look amazing at all. The footage was always grainy and the image wasn't sharp. But I used what I had. Also there was no mic input which was a problem. I liked audio and always wanted back ups. I bought two black magic cinema micro cameras in their place. They worked well but the quality a bit different and didn't match the g7 at all. I also had to color correct the two black magics. It was an extra step in my post of the show. i had to buy two monitors for them as the micro's didn't have anything on them. Audio originally was run through a rode lav, a ntg2 on a c stand. The rode mics would pick up some sort of signal interference on the g7 causing a nasty buzz that I would have to take out in post... ugh more post work. I called both panasonic and rode about this and apparently nothing could be done about it. Some times I was filming on my own, the switcher was barely used. I began recording through the cameras and then taking cards and dumping them to a hard drive and editing. Eventually I got all 3 g7's with matching lenses running HDMI to SDI to the switcher and then into a hyper deck mini. I have mic's hidden around the set. I still use the wireless rode lav's, but I have the newest model which does cut down on the interference. The newest episode looks and sounds the best I've ever seen it.

I originally tried a thing where I wanted to do a retro episode.

It's funny originally I was going to get 3 go pro's when I was in film school. They were affordable and simple. I know the quality would have been shit, especially in 2011.

I had bought a cart off amazon, a monitor, a mac mini and some other stuff to pretty much run the show off of or to use a producing computer. The cart was no where near the size it was said to be on amazon. This Danny Devito looking fucking thing showed up. It was up to my knees. I freaked out and couldn't return it. I found a corner desk off facebook market place and got that instead. It worked better.


he Original Cart... couldn't even fit the monitor.

I then began the set. The backdrop was either going to be Ocean City MD at night on the board walk with the ferris wheel lit up, or it was going to be The Indian River inlet bridge lit up blue. I went with the Inlet bridge... it gave off a mysterious feel and just felt like Delaware. It just felt right, it might not be the colorful or boisterous look of Ocean City, but it still had a late night almost larger than life look to it and the colors popped. The first photo I shot at Steve Karpin's house from his Balcony with a t2i and a 800mm lens. It was ok. Steve had a perfect view of it from his apartment, it over looked the indian river inlet. I got it printed on vinyl and hung it up. I hid the seam with this cool picture frame that looked like film. I filled it with photos of stuff I had done over the years. Those eventually fell and broke. At the peak of the room I added the poster for my first film, I felt a poster needed be some where... but what would it be? Would it be my favorite film? I figured it would be fitting to put the poster up of my first feature film. I still believe it ties the set together.

The photo frame.

I remember before I bought the back drop I had this idea of just kinda doing the show and using a green screen behind the windows. I had some cool retro decorative drive in theatre looking decals I never shot a show like this but there are some cool behind the scenes photos of it. I always wanted to have the backdrop behind the windows. It would have been too hard to shoot, especially with elements like weather possible blowing the back drop around. The only want to do what i wanted was to build a false wall and I just don't have the space for that. One day... one day.

Promo shot of me after the completion of desk during test shoot.

Set is almost complete.

Original Back Drop

The back drop was alright... but it felt too dark and didn't look the greatest in my opinion. I just felt I could do better, make it look larger than life. More colorful, more professional... more like a talk show. So I went out and shot a better photo and did some manipulation to it through photoshop. I eventually got a new one with the help of Jimmy O'Neill. He surprised me and paid for it. It was more expensive because it was made out of cloth. The vinyl keep peeling and cracking due to being in the sun ( the backdrop buts up and blocks out the windows.) i even paid homage to Jimmy by adding his Jimmy O show logo in the moon. If you look close enough you'll see it.

New and improved back drop!

The Chair for the guests was an original chair from Fox Gold Coast. I spray painted it white.I then made a platform for it... only issue was it wasn't counter balanced and if you leaned back in it... it would tip. But it was still very neat. An authentic movie theater seat from my favorite movie theater... little did I know that I would later on become the general manager of my favorite movie theater. My chair behind the desk was something I got at T.J max... it was too high and I looked awkward sitting so high looking down on the desk. In the early promo shots you can see it. I eventually got a small stool instead.

Original Set still being built

The desk was made to look like a concession stand at a movie theater with a coastal aesthetic. I wanted it to feel beachy. I got the cheapest L desk off amazon and Adam clifton helped me cut out and frame a candy case. It looked amazing. I myself was never very good at home improvement stuff, and relied heavily on Adam, and he made it look great. We were originally planning to have Candy in the cases, actual brands... but felt we should add our own fake brands to keep from a law suit or cease and desist. So ben designed some stuff kinda spoofing popular candies. Instead of Sour patch kids we got... bitter pissed seagulls, instead of twizzlers we got twigglers, instead of peanut M&M's we got Will's Colorful, wonderful crack! That last one was an inside joke between Ben and I, I use to bring peanut m&m's on the school bus in high school and got almost everyone on there addicted to them. I had a small popcorn machine and put it into the side of the desk. I then ordered this god awful soda pump thing. The idea is it would attach to two 2 liters of soda of your choice and you could pump the nozzle and hit a button dispensing the soda. It worked but the soda would instantly lose carbonation. So now it's just for looks. The Marquee was just a light that Adam helped wire so it would plug into a wall socket. We stuck stickers on it. to give it the look we wanted. I ran led lights along the edge to give it more of a glow. I did the same for the desk.

The Soda dispenser.

Ben's Original Designs for the Candy Boxes

Adam Clifton working on the set.

Original Promo Shot

Originally I wanted to have guests on set, offer them a drink and popcorn as a snack and just have a casual chat. I was ready to go, man. I had everything set up. Well... then covid happened. Should I still continue with the show? Well I saw it as an opportunity and it worked well. I did the show, and feel most of the success of the show came from people being stuck inside with nothing to do. Only issue was I couldn't do the things I wanted... I couldn't have correspondents, or guests on set, hell most of the news from that time was depressing. But we got by.

Because of the show, small companies that made or sold video equipment contacted me to test on the show. I had a deal with the company... I'll test your product but I get two for free, one for me to keep and one for me to give away, I also can give my honest opinion on it. This worked great. I gave my honest opinion on most things, most of the items I used were great, affordable and did great things. I still use a lot of the gear I've acquired. I would also buy movies at walmart and do facebook lives and do trivia and send out the movies to those who came on and did trivia.

A nervous Shadow comes over to check on the set.

The show had it's ups and downs, as did I. The first few episodes I tried to memorize the entire script and deliver it in one shot. This was difficult as at the time the living room had a doorless arch way between the hall and the studio... and my beloved Shadow, a husky I owned, hated when I would film, the lights, camera's and sound equipment made him anxious and he would pace... which could be picked up on the mic. So I built a wall that closed off the studio area.

So why did I stop? Depression. I kind of lost self confidence. I also had all the time in the world to work on the show during covid. Once It was safe to go back to work, almost all my time was gone. I was pretty much at the theater 24/7 due to the cleaning and new covid protocols. It was rough. I was constantly getting called in and having to leave my house and drive 30 minutes to the theater to fix issues. It really took me out of the zone, the headspace and ... I lost a lot of time needed to do the prep work for an episode. I felt lost, I wanted to do the show but couldn't. I would try here and there and it just wasn't good. I also struggled with the thought "AM I FUNNY?" the answer is yes... I am. Maybe not to you, or you... or even YOU. Comedy is subjective and I am not everyone's cup of tea. But am I funny. Hell yes I am. I let a teacher get into my head years ago and tell me I wasn't funny... and it really stung. It took me over 10 years and some counciling from Jimmy O neill to get over it.

I am glad to be back in the saddle. Because of the closure of Sun and Surf I acquired a lot of assets to my set. A real butter pump, a nacho cheese machine and nacho warmer, heated leather recliners, a mylar holder. I even got a mylar printed that looks better than the old marquee. I got a POS computer with a scanner gun. A napkin, cup and straw dispenser. It just looks and feels more like a concession stand. It is impressive. I even threw a 1 up pack man/galaga machine in there for good measure. And damn do I look good behind that desk.

I'll come back and write a post more in-depth about how I make an episode and how I got so many excellent people such as Albie and Joe and Jimmy to help out!

ME looking dapper and happy to be back!

Below is what the studio area looked like... over 30 years ago.

You know... I wrote this because it helped prove to me that I accomplished something. I had a dream... and against all odds... I did it. I made my own talk show. If it wasn't for my friends coming over and helping me and believing in me this wouldn't have happened. It also goes to Jimmy O'Neill, Joe Pontillo, Mike Doyle, Albie Robles, Ben Bostaph, Josh Lynch, and Adam Clifton for really just sticking with me. I know you have dreams and goals... don't let the darkness creep in and steal it from you. It can be debilitating... but you owe it to yourself. As I always say.... keep being creative!

-Wilby Devokees

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