Well, this is it. After today, I’m finished annoying you about Right Hand Man. After today, I go back to annoying you with funny-to-probably-only-me-at-that-particular-moment Twitter posts and the occasional stupid poll or Buzzfeed article that momentarily made me feel better about myself until making me feel like an asshole for wasting five minutes of my life.
For those of you who have not hidden me from your news feeds because I was annoying the hell out of you, I thank you whole-heartedly. For those of you who have contributed to and shared the campaign, I thank you more than whole-heartedly, and apologize for not thinking of a better way of saying that than “more than whole-heartedly.” As you probably know, we have already achieved our goal level of funding to produce this web series. Actually, we’ve received just a little bit more than we need, so we have a little bit of cushion to take chances (though not huge chances) and accommodate unexpected challenges, which is amazing. I can’t tell you right now how excited I am for what’s to come. I’ve never spent more than $1,000 on a project that I’ve filmed before, and that was only because I had to shoot that one on actual film. To me, $15,000 opens a whole new level of filmmaking. Consider the pieces you saw during this Indiegogo campaign – the initial video, all of the shorts, the recuts. I would be very surprised if we spent more than $500 total on those pieces. We pulled some favors and got some free equipment, a location, and several other things without spending any money, but on a mere $500, we made 13 videos and did countless other things that we’re pretty proud of.
But they’re nothing compared to this series we’ve been working on for the past six to eight months.
Most of the Right Hand Man shorts you saw were created in reaction – we pretty much never really planned to do them until after we launched the campaign. Once the campaign went live and we truly realized exactly how much money we were asking for – which to any of us is an insane amount of money because we’re all pretty low in the tax brackets right about now – we started thinking of any way possible to be creative and keep this campaign fresh and continuously present to possible donors. That’s where Will’s hilarious haiku’s came from, and that’s where the Hand Job campaign (or Right Hand Man Branded Photos) came from – it was all done in reaction. With these videos – and the idea to keep doing them – we had nothing in the bank to execute at the beginning of this. No ideas, no premises, nothing written. So we would juggle six busy, steadily employed writers’ schedules, figure out when we could meet to develop ideas (which was usually late on Friday nights), then shoot them in mornings on the weekends before Michael Mejia had to clock in for his night shift at Starbucks. We needed to make them to keep putting fresh content out there and stay visible in the public eye. Conception to post in three to four frequently interrupted days.
Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you this to better anticipate what this series is going to be. Altogether, Right Hand Man the series is about 60 pages long. We spent 6 months writing and developing that. Every episode went through extensive rewrites. We broke and re-broke the story umpteen times. I have personally storyboarded every frame of the first episode. Consider that amount of forethought and preparation in combination with any shred of creativity in our campaign videos.
And now, thanks to you, we have $15,000 to play with.
I really hope this doesn’t sound like bragging, because that is not my intention. And I really hope I don’t sound like I’m downplaying the pride I or we have in the shorts we’ve created, because that’s also not my intention. My intention here is to assure you that you’ve made an investment. A good investment. You’ve invested in the futures of six people who worked their asses off to make something they believe in. Something vulgar. Something profane. Something irreverent. But something that was made with care and really has a lot of heart in it, and that much I hope you’ll enjoy no matter who you are.
So thank you. Sincerely, thank you more than I can possibly put into words. You can’t see it, but I’m crying right now. Mostly because I’m listening to “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley (gets me every time), but some of those tears are in reaction to the amazing opportunity my friends and I have just been given thanks to the generosity of our friends and family, and we will not lose sight of how privileged we are to have this opportunity, and we will continue to work harder than we ever have before, because you’ve invested in us and now we’ve got the weight of that responsibility on our shoulders.
So again, in case that wasn’t clear: THANK YOU.
I’d also like to thank, individually and collectively, each of my five co-writers and colleagues here for putting up with me through all of this and working with me to create something greater than anything I’ve ever been a part of before. Whether it have been by gaining the respect of each of them or by some level of bullying on my part (the answer I’m sure – and hope – is somewhere in between), I have been bestowed the honor by these five amazing individuals to sort of steer the ship through this whole process and act as “showrunner.” And that means the world to me, that through all of this, these five people have continuously let me work and create among them despite my ENORMOUS flaws and honestly often-bat-shit-insane mind.
But before I go any further, Right Hand Man only is what it is because of all six of us working together. I only bring this point up in public to thank my colleagues for their tolerance and trust in me. Actually, that’s not true. There’s a certain amount of ego wrapped up in there that I can’t control and that I have to appease or it will drive me crazy. That’s shitty, but it’s honest, and it’s true, and I’d feel like more of a piece of shit if I didn’t admit that. It’s a part of me I’m certainly ashamed of and would like to work to correct, but it’s there and I can’t deny it.
Anyway, to continue the ship metaphor, everyone had stations to man, I just got to stand at the steering wheel. We were all together blowing the wind into the sails. But what’s been the engine of it for me, what’s been the thing keeping me personally working hard and wanting to see this project through, is at the end of the day, I wanted to make something amazing with people I love. I love this material. I love this story. I love the work we have done. And I love these five people I’ve created it with like family, because that’s what they’ve become to me. And I really hope this love and level of heart is apparent in the final product we’ll be giving you within the next 6 months to a year depending on various factors.
Shit, I got distracted and wrapped up in my own stupid head. Personal thank you’s (in alphabetical order).
Donald Francis William Buckingham III:
What do I say to Will? He’s the loudest, most unapologetically ignorant man I’ve ever met and I love him for that. But he’s more than that. Will is a little boy dressed up in his father’s clothing smoking a cigarette, sipping a glass of Scotch, and almost pulling it off, but we all know that behind that cigarette smoke and whiskey smell, there’s a little boy there with a big old heart. And he’s pretty damned funny and unique. So funny I wanted to make a web series about him.
Michael Eugene Butler:
Not many people know this, but Mike Butler is probably one of the most genuine people on the planet. This dude listens to people – pretty much every word a person says – processes it objectively, and analyzes it with an amazing and empathetic mind that a writer needs. He’s also a HILARIOUS actor, and none of us knew that because he’s the amazing kind of guy who never needs to tell you that he is. You just find out one day when you see him act. And those the best kind of guys in my book. Mike Butler has also been the guy who continuously throws out the weirdest, most outside-the-box idea you can think of over and over again, and although not all of them stick, he’s always the one who throws out something so out there and original that it solves the puzzle we’ve created for ourselves.
Amy Paulette Hartman:
Amy gets shit done. Amy makes shit happen. Amy has a mind for logistics, networking, and figuring out how to produce something that is nothing short of vital to the successes we’ve had as a team. We needed a place to meet because stubborn-ass, easily-distracted Chris refused to work in somebody’s apartment? Amy made that happen. We needed gear to shoot the Indiegogo video? Boom, Amy’s got it locked down before we even knew what we needed. She’s the best producer we could hope for and her talents were essential to making this happen. She’s also responsible for some of the beautiful photography in our shorts. Beyond that, she is my room-mate and puts up every single fart/laugh combo that I have suffered her through, and that deserves more thanks than I can put into words.
Matthew Duncan McRee:
Have you ever met this guy? Matt McRee is possibly the most likable guy you can imagine. He’s literally always in a good mood, making you laugh, and solving problems you didn’t even know you had. Oh, you forgot to eat before the meeting? Boom, Matt’s ordering food for the team. Oh, nobody’s been writing down any of the ideas we’ve been talking about for the last three hours? No, dumb ass. Of course Matt has. He’s on that shit. He’s always on that shit. Oh, you didn’t think about how to make a joke or story beat fit into the actual rhythm/sequence of the story? Boom, Matt just writes it right in his episode and you don’t have to worry about it. And for the record, Matt was the man responsible for what I consider to be the best and most entertaining copy I’ve ever read on an IndieGogo page. It’s like he just loved writing every word of it as much as you loved reading it.
Michael J. Mejia:
I love Michael Mejia. He’s like a diva you always want to hug. He’s the only man I know that can make you laugh about his misfortunes and feel good about them with him at the same time. He’s one of the most honest and real people I can even imagine, and I think the world is going to fall in love with him when they see he and his silly hand going on crazy adventures. Just so that everyone knows, those shorts came together so quickly we didn’t really have time to script them. 50-60% of the dialogue in those things came from an amazing improvisor and performer named Michael Mejia after he had been given little time to prepare and probably not quite-enough-information. To be honest, at the beginning of this, we hadn’t seen Michael doing too much of the man and hand act, but I think these videos go to show that he took to it quick and he’s only going to get better. If there’s anyone who can pull of such an odd and physical comedic performance, it’s the lovable Michael J. Mejia.
Well, this is quite the lengthy post that probably no one’s going to read isn’t it? Yes, it is. But this is a big moment in the life of a mumbling, lanky, awkward, alcoholic writer/”comedian”‘s life so he had to say something. He had to put it into words. He hopes you’ve enjoyed some of them, but more importantly he hopes you will remember this project is now entering the next step and will soon be shot, then edited, then ready for you to enjoy. And he hopes you stick with he and his friends along the way, because he really thinks you’ll enjoy the ride and he would like nothing more than to share a few laughs and a good story with you, so that you can then go share them with the people you love.
Okay, he’ll shut up now.
P.S. In case you haven’t seen them yet, here’s the rest of the Right Hand Man shorts. Enjoy!
Right Hand Man – Short No. 7 “Jenga” from Stray Dog Productions on Vimeo.
Right Hand Man – Short No. 8 “Idle Hand” from Stray Dog Productions on Vimeo.
Right Hand Man – Short No. 9 “Coach Will” from Stray Dog Productions on Vimeo.
Right Hand Man – Short No. 10 “Basic Bitch” from Stray Dog Productions on Vimeo.
Right Hand Man – Short No. 11 “Designated Driver” from Stray Dog Productions on Vimeo.