Making of The Undead Hepcat's Monster Show Part VII: That Which is (Un)Dead Cannot Die

 From an objective, technically minded point of view, The Undead Hepcat's Monster Show is not a great show. It was frequently sloppy, rushed and its low production values went well beyond what was the fault of limited access to professional equipment.

 I think Borris would answer that criticism with "Let's see your TV show, Big Shot."

 Its not that great, and I think I probably could have done better -- but the point is: I did it. I wanted a show like this, and no one else was making one, so I did it myself.

 I've included it on my resume for every job I've applied for since 2001.

I occasionally think about giving it a shot again, and the advances in technology are making that really tempting. I am planning on at least doing a George Lucas-style "Special Edition" edit of at least one of the 4th Season episodes (re-editing, adding and freshening up) and posting that in full -- hopefully by Halloween.

If I was gonna do it again:

Internet Only -- this is a no brainer. YouTube is the Public Access Cable of the future.

30 minute format -- I love these movies, but to be honest the reason Creature Features were made in the first place is because the majority of your average "B" monster movie is not something most people want to watch. Cutting them down to the best parts solves that problem by making a "concentrate". I'd much rather see a kick-ass half hour than an so-so ninety minutes anyday.

More music -- There are pretty thriving sub-genres of horror themed punk, rock-a-billy, surf rock, alt metal etc. etc. out there and if this show needs anything it needs more rock n roll. Getting live performances would be cool, but taking advantage of the way bands are marketing themselves online would be the way to go. Rue Morgue Magazine's much missed "Rue Morgue Radio" pod cast showcased a lot of these bands, and I'd imagine I could do something similar if I made connections with them (in my experience successful punk bands tend to be friendly to DIY efforts).

Full on Social Media Presence -- Fortune 500 companies use the same tools and methods that are available for free to anyone with a computer. This is pretty staggering when you think about it (and I guess if you were born before 1990). A mail-in 'fan club' is a pretty quaint idea when you look at the level of interaction you can get by integrating a web site with a few social media platforms.

Another interesting angle to this is that -- and celebrity Facebook and Twitter accounts attest to this -- the medium lends itself to being an extention of a character. You can interact, but you can do so on your own terms. Borris posting, commenting and interacting online would become an extention of the show instead of just a promotional angle.

Revise the Shooting Schedule and Logistics -- I shot all of these in one long go because it was easier to build a set, get some friends together and do my make-up once every 4-6 months than every week. If I was gonna do this on the regular, I'd need a permanent set and have to plan on shooting one to two episodes in a go. I'd probably opt for a monthly schedule of actual shows, then keep the online content fresh in other ways.

More Dynamic Filming Techniques -- I used to just put the camera on a tri-pod and then go for it. Partly this was to emulate old fashioned TV, but mostly it was because it was easy. Even on a show that is pretty simple, like a news cast, you'll see plenty of cuts and change-ups between close, medium and wide shots. It feels totally natural and helps sustain interest and move the viewer's focus.  They can do this because they are working with multiple cameras -- you can fake the effect with editing, but doing so with two VCR's and your finger on "pause" is not easy.

With the much easier to use digital tools available now, I could do this with more success. I could also purchase a couple of inexpensive digital cameras (the kind they use for web-cams), set them on tripods and focus them to specific marks in the set so that I could get non-faked multi-camera footage and then edit them with a single audio track.

Merch -- There are lots of cool and cost friendly options for small batch custom printing on demand these days. Which is awesome because you can offer a wide selection of branded merchandise (Undead Hepcat flasks, beer coozies...) without having to maintain (and purchase up front) a large inventory. You could design them in advance and basically sell them at or just above cost -- it helps build awareness, and maybe more importantly "participation," but could potentially also be a revenue source.

Shorten the Name -- In addition to being not that great of a joke in the first place, "Borris Cirrosis" gets sabotaged by the fact that I mis-spelled it. "Borris, The Undead Hepcat" works on its own. we'll see.


  1. Batwolf Biker would definitely make a guest appearance, whether Borris liked it or not!


Post a Comment