Sunday, May 13, 2012

Our Second Episode!

Vampire strippers and vampire hookers! Kat and Marshall explore this horror sub-sub-genre through three fun and sexy movies; Vamp, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Tales from the Crypt's Bordello of Blood. Also, Kat discusses Vampire trivia and Marshall shares his trip through a carnival spook house. You can listen to the player here to our second episode, "Ladies of the Night". Enjoy!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Genesis of a Thumbnail

We're getting very close to putting out our very first episode of Boys and Ghouls.  I went to Guitar Center and picked up a Yeti USB microphone and a red sheet set from Target.  Kat came over and we had a photo shoot where I wore a halloween mask and skeleton gloves.  I mostly did Scooby-Doo monster-style creeping poses while she did scream queen reactions.  An old room mate had attached some halogen lights to the rafters of my apartment, part of a set-up for an at-home green screen, and left them up there when he moved out.  I just tacked up the red sheet I got at Target, plugged in the lights, and used a regular Coolpix digital camera for what turned out to be a pretty good shoot.

I figure that since our podcast's thumbnail will be literally the size of a thumbnail, a Pulp Fiction shade of red might catch a web-browser's eye.  When it came to giving the picture text, I didn't have Photoshop.  So, I went to a d.i.y. de-motivational poster site and got some good, simple results.

Kat and I recorded about an hour and half of us just talking about Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge.  I've edited it down to about 45 minutes.  Doing this, I removed our pauses, and stammers, and when we would gather our thoughts with a lengthy, "uhhhhhh."  We ended the podcast with the sign off, "Beware the moon" and a closing clip of Bela Lugosi in Glen or Glenda telling the audience to "Beware, take care... beware."

After editing, I recorded a pre-podcast greeting to tell folks what to expect and to follow us on Facebook.  I looped some bubbling and zapping sounds from Youtube and created a mad scientist lab to go under my minute-long greeting.

Since then, as our Friday the 13th drop-date approaches, I've been trying to increase Boys and Ghoul's online presence.  Right now we've got a Facebook fan page that has reached the thirty members that it takes to get the extra bells and whistles.  For anyone still on Myspace, I created a Boys and Ghouls Myspace page too.  And, you can find us on Tumblr where, right now, our only follower is Kat.

Then, a friend introduced me to Pintrest.  Its set-up of user's interest boards, where they showcase images from all over the web, has helped me find lots of folks (mostly female) who are into horror movies.  Then, when I "repin" one of their postings over to my own page, they get a notification that "Boys and Ghouls Podcast" has repined one of their items.  Today, after a week of searching out horror fans, trying to generate interest about my unreleased podcast, I found that a horror fan in Florida actually found out about us through Pinterest then followed a link and "liked" our Facebook page.

So, that was pretty encouraging.

One more day till Friday the 13th, then I'll have an actual product to promote.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Whispers in the Night

I've been splicing and dicing all week as I learn how to edit sound on Garage Band.  As a project, I'm constructing an opening sequence for my podcast.  It's a montage of sound bites from various horror films.  The best tool I've discovered in this project has been a website that converts You Tube clips into mp3's.  Since most of a movie's best lines are in the trailer, I've been scouring You Tube for horror movie trailers, hoping to find clips of characters verbalizing their situation (like Clint Howard in The Wraith letting us know that he was up against, "A wraith, man!  A ghost!  An evil spirit and it ain't cool!")

The most discouraging part of this process is discovering how softly people talk in horror films, especially dialogue that addresses the movie's specific terror.  I was hoping for dialogue where people spoke loudly and clearly about psycho killers, vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc.  I'm discovering that in most horror movies, before the rampage really gets going, characters speak very quietly when first mentioning monsters, so as not to appear crazy.  Then, when they find themselves in serious danger, they speak softly so the monster in the next room can't hear them.  After that, the loud dialogue is usually just a lot of screaming.  Some great lines that I went looking for are softer than I remember.  Like, when Fred Gwynne lets us know that, "Sometimes, dead is better."  And the majority of Heather Langenkamp's performances are delivered in cautious whispers.

The movies that delivered the best sound bites were the horror-comedies.  Going for a laugh, the characters of these self-aware movies will speak clearly and frankly about whatever monsters are giving them trouble.  One of the best is Dom DeLuise as Aunt Kate in Haunted Honeymoon, getting everyone's attention at dinner to announce, "I know that one of you is a werewolf."  In Near Dark no one even uses the word "vampire" through the entire movie.  But, in Dracula: Dead and Loving It vampires are mentioned in the first five minutes.  So, most of my completed montage is from horror comedies and, put together, will start the podcast with a jolly tone.

For well-annunciated straight talk about the undead that you can weave into a sound bite montage, the best source is the horror movie trailer announcer.  When I went looking for clips, the first thing I located was an old trailer for Plan 9 From Outer Space.  Before I'd ever heard of Plan 9, I'd heard "Cosmic Monsters Inc" by White Zombie.  Under a bed of metal guitar was the 1950's trailer declaring, "They come from the bowls of hell.  A transformed race of walking dead..."  Years later, watching an Ed Wood documentary, I delighted in discovering the source of that sample.

So, I've included the Plan 9 clip in my montage, along with some other fun drops that you might recognize... just as soon as I record a podcast and make it available to download.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I've Had It All Along

My next step in creating a podcast is to select, then master, some audio editing software.  Turns out, I have Garage Band on my Mac!  I had no idea.  I didn't think it would be hard to get but there it was, just sitting quietly in my laptop for four years.  I've had Audacity recommended to me be a couple of podcasters and it's free to download.  But, since I've already got Garage Band pre-installed I'll just stick with that.

As for mastering Garage Band, I'm off to a good start.  I just spent a couple of hours taking audio splices of Kat talking about horror films and set it under "The Stroll".  To get the audio of Kat saying things like That is some campy good fun and Thackery Binx! I used her appearance on the podcast "There Will Be Spoilers."  Check it out and listen to Kat being passionate about horror movies on There Will Be Spoilers' episode 063, the Halloween episode.

I picked "The Stroll" to experiment with because of it's use in the 80's horror romp, Night of The Creeps.  Kat and I watched it a few months ago and, when this podcast turns into a real little boy, we'll deliver our thoughts on it along with some warm, fun and entertaining banter.

I promise.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mic Check

I'm looking for a good microphone with which to record my future podcasts.  My friend Aurora, in her podcast Weekly Dictator, uses a TK 2020 USB microphone and all three hosts talk into it.  So, that seems to work but I want to make an informed purchase so I did a little leg work.

Tonight, I went to Meltdown Comics to watch Chris Hardwick do a free hour of stand-up.  I got there early because anything free really brings a crowd (today was also a frozen yogurt give-away at Yogurtland).  A couple blocks from Meltdown, Guitar Center and Sam Ash sit directly across the street from each other like feuding hillbillies.  I walked over to both and got some helpful perspective on what's available in USB microphones.

Directional characteristics might become a deal-breaker.  Everyone huddled into one directional sweet spot might not make for great podcasting.  It feels like kind of an unnatural way to carry on a conversation.  Tonight, I've learned that the Yeti microphone may be more expensive than the TK 2020 but it has directional options and a headphone jack.  

Damn.  I'll probably have to get headphones too.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Putting the Cart In Front of the Horse

Hello, boys and ghouls!  I've decided to do a podcast.  The biggest obstacle is that I don't know how to properly record or publish a podcast.  Is "publish" the right word?  I'll find out.  I also don't have the equipment.

What I do have is heart.  Heart, and a catchy title that no one has used yet.  So, I've secured "Boys and Ghouls" in a g-mail account, a Twitter account, and a blog.  Then, while walking to Blockbuster, I texted Kat and asked her if she wants to do a podcast with me where we talk about horror movies and all things spooky.  Kat, who decorates for Halloween in late-September, immediately and enthusiastically agreed to the venture.  She is on board all the way.  So, it looks like I'm really going to have to do this.

I am not tech-savvy.  For starters, I still rent DVDs from a video store.  For ideas and appointments, I carry a pen and a little note book.  But, I'm determined to figure out podcasting and deliver a genre-specific movie-themed podcast to an already saturated market.

Beware the moon,
Marshall Hicks
Burbank, CA