The Lost Days of Summer Projects

by Chris McGinty of

I feel like a theme that might
emerge for me during the writing of these Summertime Funtime blog posts is the
fact that we’re not very vacation minded in the US. This is somewhat evidenced in
the way Miguel and I split the workload on Summer Project ’94 and Summer
Project ’95. We would get together during the day when lighting wouldn’t be an
issue, and shoot as much as we could. Then I would go deliver pizza while
Miguel did test edits – we were using two VCRs with shuttle jog editing
capability, so Miguel had to edit most things more than once. The main reason
for this workload split was that Miguel was better at editing, and because
Miguel was on summer vacation from college. I wasn’t.

But let’s move away from the
vacation aspect of it for a minute. I’ve written about the Summer Projects
before, so I don’t need to really get into it here. I think I’m more interested
in trying to inspire people to do a summer project for themselves.
What prompted the two summer
projects was that Sony had a video competition at the time. I don’t remember
when the deadline was, but it made sense for Miguel and me to get started the
moment he was out of college for the summer, and be done with the project with
enough time to mail it, as in mail in a Super-VHS tape to Sony. I think it gave
us about 4 to 5 weeks to shoot and finalize the edit. We never won, but given
that we have those two projects to show the world… actually, we need to get
good digitized copies of those and put them online.
I believe that the requirement
was that the video be 20 minutes long. I don’t know if they allowed for longer
videos or shorter videos. I just know that we went for about 20 minutes long.
If you have a group of creative
friends, maybe you can take 4 to 5 weeks to shoot a 20 minute short movie,
especially if you’ve never done a longer project like that. It’s a whole
different beast than shooting a three minute sketch or vlogging. It’s worth it
though. We don’t have the resources at the moment to actually hold a contest.
Maybe that’ll be a future ATW summer project to hold a contest with some actual
incentive to enter; you know, when we can hire lawyers and such. But we’re
always happy to review your work as a blog post. First reason, we enjoy the
work of other artists and like to support the creative community. Second
reason, it’s a built in topic for a blog post to just review something.
Our Twitter info (as of this
writing, I’m checking in on Twitter more, but Nathan will probably get back
into it soon):
Nathan and Chris – Spending Summer 2019 being as reflective as their sunglasses.
As a quick aside, we did have a
Summer Project ’97 of sorts (as long as you consider winter to be summer). It
wasn’t quite the same situation, but in May of 1997, Miguel and I decided… ok,
in May of 1997 I decided that the show needed to finally be on public access,
and Miguel went along with it. Unfortunately, that was a lot of our work
dynamic when there wasn’t a contest driving us. We had a lot of sketches done
that could create the first five episodes with a few new segments shot. Then we
were mostly out of material by the end of the year. This prompted me to start
writing an episode that would be a full storyline with ideas contributed by me,
Miguel, and Brian (aka Episode 6 of “Sniffles (sniff)”). Unfortunately, that
episode is not online at the moment, but here is an odd outtake from those
This also gave us our first
chance to work with Bill Stober who worked on the Fort Worth public access show,
The Dwight Williams Show. As I said, that’s not uploaded yet, but here’s a clip
from his show.
Episode 6 of “Sniffles (sniff)”,
more than any of the other episodes, felt more like a summer project, because
it was a full storyline that came in at about 27 minutes, and had to be shot
with focused intention.
I would experience that focused
intention again, with Nathan, during what could be called Summer Project ’09
(as long as you consider April summer), which was a much longer project in
terms of overall time, but was largely shot in the course of a week, with
follow up work done later. This was According To Whim – Season Two. It was six
episodes worth of a season with a continuing storyline. This was the second
time I got to work with Bill Stober.
So here’s to having fun with your
summer, but maybe even taking a few weeks to create something. When you create
a twenty minute movie you not only create the movie, but you create memories
and stories to tell.
Chris McGinty is a blogger who
doesn’t miss shuttle jog editing in the least. Nostalgia can only go so far.

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