New BTTM Video: “Gateway Socialism PSA” + Analysis
Tuesday January 05th 2010, 10:32 am
Filed under: Better Than The Machine

It’s a healthy me in Better Than The Machine’s “Gateway Socialism PSA!” Down with healthcare!

No, no… wait a minute, I need my healthcare. Damn you, healthy Reid, daaamn you!

I wrote this sketch with the thought that it’d be good to have some one person sketches in the vault in case only one person was around to be filmed. It’s the last part of the “Reid Levin Trilogy of Unrelated Comedy Sketches That Were Filmed in December ’09.” Ballard directed and edited it. This video is a (hopefully apparent) satire on political discourse in America. Over the past nine months, the words “socialist” and “socialism” have been turned into ridiculous insults. Pundits have also been flinging words like “Marxist” and “communist” around as (intentionally) incorrect synonyms of socialism that are designed to recall fears about the Cold War to a public that largely doesn’t understand the differences between these political ideologies.

This sketch itself ended up being a case of the writer (me) having a different vision from the director (Ballard). When I wrote this, I had pictured it more in the tone of Gay Marriage Propaganda. Also, I intended all the portraits to be Communist leaders, and I had intended to (poorly) Gilliamate them myself.

However, Ballard said, “Trust me on this,” (several times), and so I did, because I’ve been very happy with all of the things I’ve written that he’s directed. This particular video also turned out very well, but it took a while to settle in with me. I often have trouble judging whether things I’ve written and then someone else has produced are good or not, no matter how well they actually turn out. I think it’s a matter of having trouble resolving the original ideas in my head with what the final product ends up being when someone else is responsible for that final product. Ballard really checked in with me about things and asked if things were okay as he worked on the video, and even if he hadn’t, I feel like his director’s eye is clearly more finely tuned for the final product than my pen, which might be better for starting some things. Still, the uncertainty lasted until I posted the video–which I’m glad I did.

I also made the hammer and sickle variant end title card. I started animating that, but when I heard the music Ballard had selected to go over the title card, I decided I didn’t want to detract from that funny music with the clanging metal sounds I wanted to use. I did have to change the year on the card (as I had originally made it last month/year/decade), and I finally figured out why every previous HD video I’ve exported from Final Cut Pro has been stretched too widely. It’s got to do with square pixels and HD pixels and the alignment of the planets… I don’t get any of it, but I got it to work right finally, at long least. And I think that sums this whole sketch up very well: not knowing how I got here, but being happy that I did.

–Reid in the hospital.

Now playing: Annie Little – Fly Me Away
via FoxyTunes

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