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Started by Ron Superior, February 14, 2017, 06:25:53 PM
QuoteCreators Matt Johnson, Jay McCarrol, and Jared Raab stretch their small budget by sneaking shots at unauthorized locations, incorporating bystanders as bit players, and stretching fair use to borrow soundtracks from Jurassic Park and Star Wars. The result is a caper that invades real life without becoming a prank show.NtBtS uses a loose production style, where the guiding rule is "production is development." The team rewrites stories during production and even after editing, sometimes re-shooting whole episodes. They keep production barebones, often shooting in the wild with just a producer, Jared on camera, and Matt and Jay.
QuoteWhy You Should Be Watching NIRVANNA THE BAND THE SHOW - This Viceland show is worth your time.Maybe I'm not following the right people on social media or maybe I just missed the half-life of internet buzz that follows a television show's broadcast but, from my perspective, not enough Americans seem to be talking about Nirvanna the Band the Show. And baby, that's a crime. Nirvanna the Band the Show is a Canadian sitcom that recently wrapped its eight-episode first season on Viceland. Based on the webseries created by Matt Johnson and Jay McCarrol, each 30-minute episode is a blissfully surreal swath of reality and fiction – concocted by two hyper-energy, pop culture obsessed pranksters. Matt and Jay star as exaggerated versions of themselves – childhood friends who share an apartment and a dream: to play a gig at The Rivoli, a Toronto concert venue whose hipness, from what this clueless Texan can put together, seems to be fading in the rear view mirror of time. One doesn't need to be well-versed in the Toronto music scene to get the jokes, though – to call Nirvanna the Band, Matt and Jay's musical act, a band is generous – the two don't seem to have a single written song, all their energy being spent scheming and dreaming. Under the guidance of Spike Jonze, who lest we forget once brought Jackass to an unsuspecting America, Johnson and McCarrol's new show for Viceland features gonzo stunts that rope in the unsuspecting public, all bookended by hilarious comedy-of-error storylines in which the two blustery and bumbling musicians continue to routinely screw over their shot at fame. Whether it's breaking into the local alt-weekly, crashing a Christmas parade or holding a bank hostage, everything the two does is in service of landing a gig. Everything the filmmakers do, though, walks a really fine line between reality and make-believe. For example, in the episode "The Big Time," the duo make a movie in order to have it become accepted into Sundance, hoping their fame will help them land the concert gig. In the show, they become minor celebrities after having their cheaply-shot high school violence pic "Operation: Avalanche" play Sundance. In reality, the two did make a movie about a high school shooting and they did have a film called Operation: Avalanche play Sundance – stolen shots, repurposed interviews and a little creative editing turn reality into a whole new narrative for the show's warped versions of Matt and Jay to bounce through. The two filmmakers have previously crossed the US border with their two feature-length films: The Dirties, a mockumentary about two movie-obsessed high school students planning a school shooting that was released by Kevin Smith's Smodcast Pictures, and Operation: Avalanche, a Lionsgate-distributed mockumentary about the US government's plot to fake the moon landing. Both films showcased the young filmmaker's willingness to steal a shot by any means necessary – they gained unprecedented access inside the Johnson Space Center, for example, by pretending to be students filming a documentary for school. As they embarked on their career as guerrilla filmmakers, the two learned a lot about fair use and all other assorted legal matters – knowledge that was well-utilized during the making of Nirvanna the Band the Show. In the first episode, the two decide the best way to get the Rivoli's attention is to hang a giant banner on the building across the street. That seems to actually happen in real life as the camera catches confused onlookers watching the banner, a goofy Sears-portrait of the two posed together, unfurl down the side of the building. What becomes difficult to discern is how real the events are that follow – the realization that Jay's penis was visible as it poked out the too-tight leather pants he was wearing or the raging fire that happens as the two try and erase evidence of the giant penis they have unleashed upon the busy Toronto street corner. Truth be told, though – it doesn't matter. The show isn't about tricking the public into misbehaving – it's about watching the show's stars misbehave and do it in a way that seems impossible to pull off on the show's micro-budget. Another episode features the two filmmakers smuggle a camera into what genuinely seems to be a real-life Thursday night premiere screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Licensing the Star Wars music is expensive. Smuggling a video camera into a crowded screening of one of the biggest movies of all-time with the purpose of filming the screen and the audience is crazy. Yet they do it. What's more, they do it in character as Matt, who has gone temporarily blind (the episodes have running continuity!), has Jay loudly and in elaborate detail describe what's happening on screen. The reactions of the theater management as they kick Matt and Jay out seems to be very real. The Star Wars obsessives who, having had their viewing experience ruined by the two assholes, turn on Matt and Jay in a fight scene that parodies Netflix's Daredevil series is the road where fantasy diverges from reality. Both are hysterical and the melding of both the prank camera aspects of the show and its running narrative are what makes this show so special. As with The Dirties, Nirvanna the Band the Show wears its pop culture references on its sleeves – aping the visual style and art direction of the shows it's parodying to an impressive degree of detail. It's one thing for a show to crank out a Home Alone reference – it's another thing for that show to slavishly capture the show's shots, music and visual tone in a way that is so subtle, audience members might not even catch it. This isn't Family Guy – stopping to draw attention to every pop culture reference spewed out. Nirvanna the Band the Show uses its influences as building blocks – stacking, reassembling and repurposing them as if they were just another part of the show's cinematic language. Nirvanna the Band the Show is juvenile, yes – but it's also fresh in a way that's both exciting and kind of nerve-wracking. Are you catching all the references or are some flying right over your head because you're too old? The show is a hodge-podge of references, but even if you don't catch every single call-back or inside joke crammed into the episodes' running time, audiences still get their share of frantic plot devices featuring two charming idiots just trying to achieve fame – it's basically the internet as a television show. Viceland has already renewed the show for a few more seasons and Johnson and McCarrol are already deep in production on these new episodes. If you haven't already taken the time to watch it, take the time now to catch up on the first season and let's keep a conversation going about this show. Johnson and McCarrol are doing some really exciting things with their projects, whether film or television. If Nirvanna the Band the Show is the project that's currently got their attention, that means it deserves your attention too.
Quote from: Small Man Big Horse on May 04, 2017, 03:11:23 AMI've just caught the first episode of this and enjoyed it a lot. The Jurassic Park stuff is great (Spoiler alertthe Samuel L Jackson smoking thing especially[close]) and it made me laugh a great deal. I missed this thread originally but earlier tonight read this article which persuaded me to give it a shot, and I'm really glad I did.
Quote from: SteveDave on May 05, 2017, 09:51:11 PMEpisode 3 if this was unbelievably good.
Quote from: Ron Superior on May 07, 2017, 12:42:55 AMIs that the one where they get hooked on coffee and try to crash a Christmas Parade? Wonderful. By then you've got so much going on. The dealing with the public thing, the referencing other movies thing, the ongoing building plot, the playing off of each other. So good.
QuoteHow to Make a TV Show Backwards with 'Nirvanna the Band'Nirvanna the Band, Viceland's first scripted TV series, is a high-energy sitcom about a Toronto musical duo who concoct elaborate schemes to book a show. Creators Matt Johnson, Jay McCarrol, and Jared Raab stretch their small budget by sneaking shots at unauthorized locations, incorporating bystanders as bit players, and stretching fair use to borrow soundtracks from Jurassic Park and Star Wars. The result is a caper that invades real life without becoming a prank show.The show started as a web series, created by co-stars Matt Johnson and Jay McCarrol and producer Jared Raab. I interviewed Matt and Jay for Splitsider around the launch of Matt's first feature film, The Dirties, a dark comedy about a school shooting. Since then Matt has also released Operation Avalanche, a thriller about faking the moon landing. Like all of Matt's projects, NtBtS uses a loose production style, where the guiding rule is "production is development." The team rewrites stories during production and even after editing, sometimes re-shooting whole episodes. They keep production barebones, often shooting in the wild with just a producer, Jared on camera, and Matt and Jay.As the plot grows increasingly ambitious, the team grabs promising footage and builds new storylines around it. When NOW Magazine ran a cover story about the show, Matt and Jay shot an episode about infiltrating NOW to plant a fake concert listing. When Matt premiered Operation Avalanche at Sundance, they shot an episode about sneaking a film into the projection booth. This approach turns the show into metafiction; the character Matt's film is a parody of the real Matt's first movie. The characters constantly build on jokes from past projects, in subtle ways that won't trip up new viewers.I interviewed Matt and Jay, plus producers Jared Raab and Matt Miller, about translating NtBtS to TV.How would you describe the new series?Matt: We try not to say very much. The show is masquerading as this stupid sitcom about nothing. It's pretending to be something extremely innocuous. Explaining that it's really this crazy show where there are no rules, and that we're trying to have our characters do things that you can't ever do on TV — that's very difficult, to describe a show that way to somebody and have them take you seriously.There's a lot of recognizable music in the show, like the Jurassic Park and Star Wars soundtracks.Matt: Making the feature films that we did, we learned an amazing amount about fair use and what you legally can use without permission.Is it the same with the Ben Folds excerpt?Matt: That we're paying for. And believe it or not, Ben Folds stars in a major episode in season two, where he replaces Jay in the band.You're already shooting season two?Matt: We've already shot season two and some of season three. We're basically ten friends in Toronto that are all working out of the same house. It's not like we need to get permission or do even too much planning to go and shoot something.Yesterday for example, we said, "Oh, we should really do an episode about the stock market based on the movie Hook." I'll play Robin Williams from the first act of Hook, and Jay will play Jack, my son. We're talking about shooting that episode at the end of the month.On the web series, you did a lot of re-shoots and re-edits. You would re-upload new versions months later.Matt: It's worse than before! Now that's a part of our creative process. We aren't even into the hardcore writing of an episode until we've already shot the entire episode.We just did a first pass screening of an episode where we steal a kid from the sick kids hospital and steal his "Make a Wish", and we take him to an amusement park. We shot that in the summer, edited up until now, re-shot a bunch of stuff two weeks ago, and completely and totally changed the story twice. Just this week did we say "Wow, okay. Yeah, we've got something here."Jay: It helps that our whole team are friends. We can be very honest when something's not coming together. Everybody's bleeding for the show. There's no one pumping the brakes saying, "Well, you know, this is good enough, and I want to be home for dinner tonight."Matt: I can give you a perfect example from the pilot. We knew that we needed to be smoking cigarettes so that we could light a banner on fire. What we had written was, we ask people on the street about cigarettes. We got footage of people telling us, "Cigarettes will relax you." Then when we edited it together, there was nothing fun about it.So Rob Hyland, one of our editors, said, "Well, in the montage, you guys watch Jurassic Park for fun." It was just a little throw-away moment. And we worked backwards and made Jurassic Park the central idea of the episode. It's way funnier.It seems like you're also making a lot of practical choices so that it's affordable and possible to go re-shoot.Matt: Yeah. I think advice for any young creators doing anything is, own your [production process]. You need to be the person who the budget is going through. One thing for sure is that everywhere you go when you try to make a TV show, they're going to try and oversee it every step of the way. Which is smart! It just goes against everything about how we make this show.[For the web series] Jay and I owned our cameras, we owned the microphones. We didn't really think about it, but it was huge in terms of our model, because then we could go shoot whenever we wanted to. We never needed to think about production versus non-production. You have to meld all these things together. Then all of a sudden, you get rid of all that bad voodoo. "Oh shit, we're spending money. We're running out of daylight. We gotta go now, we've got 10 people on set."The show has a much bigger budget than the web series did, but in terms of how we shoot, it's the exact same model. We submitted scripts or outlines for ten episodes. Then we started delivering the episodes, and Vice was like, this is nothing close to what you told us it was going to be. Luckily they liked it, but it was definitely a learning experience for them.When we showed them even the earliest roughs, they went over really well. Spike Jonze, an executive producer and president of Viceland, responded really well to it. I think it's because of Spike that we even have the deal that we have. It's rare to have somebody with as much creative experience, so respected in the industry, as the head of programming. Who's going to argue with him at the network?He talks to us about how they would do things with Jackass. His producer Derek Freda is also giving us practical advice on the day-to-day. Those two have so much experience in this space, that anything they tell us to do, we take very seriously.Since you guys are doing everything so fast and loose, has anything really gone wrong in a shoot?Jay: I almost got beat up at Sundance. I was trying to get into a party, in character. I'm showing these fake credentials, and I've got this attitude, and the bouncer's just having none of it. Finally he kind of snaps on me, saying, "You know what? I'm not letting you in here buddy. I'm about to throw you over the edge." When we went up to him afterwards, and told him, "Hey, it was just for a shoot," he's like, "I don't give a damn. I'll throw you over the banister."What's the plan after this?Matt: We plan to work on this show for the next year and a half. Afterwards, we're going to go make a movie. Right now it's about Albert Einstein building a time machine to send an assassin back in time to kill Hitler, but everything goes wrong.I want to do the work that I love, and right now that is making Nirvanna the Band the Show all the time, and not thinking about anything else.Jared Raab and Matt Miller on collaborative filmmakingCan you tell me more about the "production is development" process?Matthew: Writing is the cheapest part of our process. Even production is pretty cheap. Where we spent all of our money is on the ability to re-shoot, and restructure and re-shoot again, and re-cut.Jared: We came out of a film school experience that was extremely collaborative. I would say the way that we do things is not about having no rules, it's just a completely different set of rules.What are some of those rules?Matthew: The producer's job on every other production is always saying no. It's very easy to say no. It also doesn't lead to the best results. My number one rule is to not say no. That involves things like leaving time and money for re-shoots. It's integral to us that we have that flexibility later in the game.Another rule is that you can't just not like something, whether it's a story idea or at the concept stage, or something in an edit. You can pitch a solution or an idea. Literally we could have an intern give a note on a cut, because that's a safe space. And it's hard to get to that.Jared: Another is, you must constantly check your ego. It's a show where no one is really going to be able to detect who did what and how it came together, and I think everyone is getting very comfortable with that idea.Matthew: Yeah, we're used to having Matt take credit for all of our genius.How does this process hold up on some of the bigger shoots?Matthew: On the last episode of our first season, we had over a hundred people on set. Suddenly it's like, "Okay, we only have this location for a certain amount of time." You're faced with all the challenges of a regular production. Keeping the flow, and keeping what is special about this process, is about tuning everything else out. It's on those days that the role definition is the most important.I would argue that we have just as much fluidity even then. Curt Lobb, the lead editor, has been on set maybe three days the entire production. But his voice is stronger on the show than anybody's.How did the show end up with Vice? What's it like working with them?Matthew: Matt met with [the FX network] and they really liked what we had done. They committed to giving us a little bit of money to shoot a test reel. That was not Nirvanna the Band, it was a completely different property.We had tried to do stuff with Vice prior to when we did the show, and it just never ended up working out. So when Viceland came knocking it seemed like, okay we could go and make a season of Nirvanna the Band, and keep [the Operation Avalanche team], and they would have jobs. Or we could go and do this pilot and maybe get nothing at the end of it. That seemed like a no-brainer to us.You're working with a lot of the same people as you did in the movies. How has that team grown?Jared: Pretty much everyone on the team is either somebody who was there from before the features, or a collaborator of a collaborator. And there's people from the Toronto film scene. It's a very tight knit group.Matthew: Our three editors were all students at a place called Humber College here in Toronto. When we needed help on The Dirties, we had no money, so I went to these students who were clearly top of their class and really sharp. They came and worked for free, happy to be in assistant editor positions and stuff like that. When we got money to make Avalanche they all elevated up the ladderWho are some of your influences?Matthew: I grew up obsessed with American Zoetrope and the independent film movement of the 70s in the US: George Lucas with Frances Coppola, and Brian De Palma, and Walter Murch, and all these guys living together and working together. When I came to film school that was my dream.At the beginning of 2000s, David Gordon Green was making those first couple movies, George Washington and All the Real Girls. He was working with the same crew and roster of actors over and over, and [working with] Jody Hill.What's your advice for new filmmakers?Matthew: Just make stuff. When I was finishing film school, were still shooting on film, and we needed to get grants and equipment. All of those barriers have disappeared.It used to be like, "Oh this person made a great short film, let's give them $500,000 to make a first feature." Now you have to come to the table with that first feature. Matt was like, "Oh I'm just going to go make a web show." It happened to be a fantastic web show.Jared: After we made that web show, we thought, "Man, now people will come knocking, we'll get to make a real TV show." It took ten years for that real TV show to come.Matthew: Ten years and two movies!It's also important to finish stuff. See it through to the end and screen it for people. If you saw the first cut of either of [our] movies or any of these episodes you would think it was just garbage, the worst thing you've ever seen. You've got to finish it, you can't just give up halfway through.
Quote from: McQ on May 18, 2017, 07:23:13 PMFrustratingly, the version of episode seven that I found had the Ben Folds bit at the end lopped off. Anyone know where I can find the full episode?
Quote from: Small Man Big Horse on May 18, 2017, 01:08:43 AMWow, the fifth episode (Sundance) is such a headfuck when it comes to what's real and what's scripted, but I gave up obsessing half way through and just went with the flow of things and it's once again shockingly funny stuff.Once I finish the season I'm definitely going to check out the web series, has anyone here seen it?
Quote from: Ron Superior on May 18, 2017, 11:48:29 PMThere's a good video interview I found with them where they open up a bit about how they work on the public bits. I'll see if I can find it.
Quote from: amnesiac on May 22, 2017, 11:15:37 AMI managed to get eps 3 - 8 from Sky On Demand but 1 & 2 had expired (but Vice are showing them again real soon).
Quote from: Twed on July 05, 2017, 06:08:00 PMThe episode "The Buffet" is beautiful.
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