It’s a street in the San Fernando Valley. It’s a kind of fancy show chicken. And an experiment in original online video content.
It’s our rebuilt site at www.yndotStreet.com, where there’s original series, sketch, comedy and music. Plus . . . more on the way.
But it all starts with Christian Monzon. Christian grew up in the valley, on Wyandotte Street, though he never liked the extra A.
A high school sports star with a blown out knee, he was about to join the Navy to work on nuclear submarines. Then he walked through the right mall on the right day. Somebody from a Modeling Showcase saw him and feel free to google the rest. He became the face of the longest running fragrance campaign in the history of Dolce & Gabbana.
I was a newspaper reporter in the Northern Virginia area, back when they were made out of paper. My wife and I drove an overstuffed VW to Los Angeles just before 9/11. I worked at a little production and management company that made small features, then moved on to supervise audio mixes, then editing.
Christian founded the company to shoot his first series, Clocking Out, which he wrote and produced. I was learning about improv and sketch at UCB LA and cutting in our living room.
On paper, we have very little in common. From different places and different worlds. But sometimes something clicks. In this case it was an overwhelming desire to prove ourselves. Because we have complimentary skills. Because we are lucky enough to be surround by such talented people. Because the sun’s shining and we have stories to tell. Because we both want the ball. And every day on a movie set is kind of a gift.
Together we tightened up Clocking Out a bit and started talking about the Naked Man series.
The script came along on a beach near Malibu. There’s a little cave you can pop through at low tide to reach a stretch of sand on the other side. I went through. My wife went through. And then out popped a completely naked man, who continued on up the coast, enjoying another pretty day. But where was he going?
We found a street downtown that the sun hits all day, and that was our stage. We did everything right. Permits, insurance, food, bathrooms, parking. We drew people from Christian’s acting conservatory and Los Angeles improv. Christian wore a chroma-key green bathing suit for blurring purposes. Turned out pretty good. Went to the top of iTunes for a while. Signed up with a rep who got us on Amazon. And then nothing.
Here’s a thing we do wrong on a regular basis, which efforts such as this post are an aim to improve. Self promotion, not our strong suit. Turns out that if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to see it, it probably made a web series.
I’m@Work was nine sketches in a day. At one of those office buildings in Century City where people all rent their own little office and share the conference room. We called around and found an office manager who didn’t mind babysitting us if her overtime arrived in cash. We had the run of the place. The actors came and went like jets at an airport. We figured an hour or so for each sketch. They came in, ran through it, shot their pages in some empty office and were gone. The Burbank International Film festival invited us out of the blue. It’s the kind of encouragement you need sometimes. But we were learning how difficult it really is to stand out online.
The Variety Show turned out great. There are awesome little theaters for rent all over the city. The performances were terrific. Music, standup, improv. The idea was to create an atmosphere of some confusion. A little bit. Not as much as we ended up with, including a last minute hunt for a microphone, then a stand. We’d like another shot at that one.
just to stress the point, it is astounding, the level of talent going unseen in Los Angeles right at this very moment. It’s there, playing it’s heart out, but mostly for the people waiting to get on stage themselves. Hope and enthusiasm are as genuine forces as electrons and protons. But it eventually has to listen to it’s mother and get a job. Like a mighty river evaporating into thin air right in front of you. When you see our friends in our stuff again and again, it’s us trying to show you the wonderful things we get to see all the time. Call them. Book them. You’ll be glad you did.
Wally Panther & Max Cleveland are satire and parody. We’re just kidding here, folks. A plumber looking for redemption and a hopeful candidate who believes those people talking on the radio. We shot them around my house to the confusion of our neighbors. The idea was to try our hand at showing ridiculous things as ridiculous, with a completely straight face. Funny or Die loves Max. The Alexandria Film Festival in Virginia brought Wally to one of those places were George Washington probably slept. You never really know what you have until you can sit in the back of a crowded room and watch people watch. Got a great response and write-up in a fancy arts magazine. More experiments. Solid results. But online, nobody at the party.
Billy Tupper’s Knockout Bout & High Desert are both on their way.
Billy is a series about the worst fighter in the world facing down a half-dozen trained killers in a night. We shot it in at real-life boxing gym Venoms in North Hollywood.
High Desert is an idea for a full-fledged television show we’re working on with automotive cinematographer Dean Mitchell. We shot just outside LA, where the military tests planes and bombs. It’s a modern western with cars instead of horses.
More on both soon . . .
But still our web presence was a mess. Our first site was built in iWeb, an after thought to our Youtube Channel, which is hopelessly lost in a sea of thumbnails. The next site was built on Square Space and looked professional enough for people to let us know all the things we were doing wrong. Which we were grateful for, as at least a direction to move in.
then came along Troy Stiner from Colorado. We teamed up with his company Network Solutions to build a proper site on WordPress, hook us up with an ad exchange and a video player. It’s his guidance that lead to what you’re seeing now at www.yndotStreet.com. Troy’s a do-er. And now that the new site is done, we launch into our next chapter, whatever that may be.
So that’s us. Nice to meet you.
We’re going to post a series of blogs to tell people a little bit about what we’ve learned. We by no means pretend to have any definitive answers or monopoly on how to do things. But we’re happy to share the things that we’ve learned during the things that we’ve done.