Morning Milk

by Jimmy on January 21, 2010

Synopsis:  An ordinary man follows an unordinary routine to get ready in the morning. As his alarm wakes him and he drags himself to the bathroom, something unexpected awaits behind the mirror of his medicine cabinet. Likewise, something unexpected will await his co-worker later that day.

Making the movie (spoiler alert, please watch video first, then read):  I was the first person to think Muscle Milk was funny.  Yes, me.  The very sound, Muscle Milk, is so amusingly complex.  It is so masculine.  So over the top.  So childishly warm sounding like Ovaltine.  So alliterative.  I knew I had to make a video of what I imagined Muscle Milk could do for me.  After all, Muscle Milk makes dreams come true on an entirely personal level.  For some people it might make their pecks bigger or get them that promotion to associate manager.  For me, it would make me manlier in the most Neanderthal sense of the word.  It would grow me chest hair.  If any of you know me, I have an infatuation with hair.  I can’t grow a mustache.  I can only grow a damn foo man chu, Billy goat thing under my chin.  Yet, my dad has a beautiful, manly mustache.  I don’t have chest hair.  Well, yes I do.  Maybe 75 tiny hairs.  I know because I made my wife count and give names to all of them one night.  But these tiny things don’t show up on camera and are only discernible to the human eye in the right light.  Anyways, these types of protein drinks sell themselves as a panacea to all your insecurities and having beautiful chest hair is one of mine.  

The movie was shot with the help of my beautiful, but sometimes impatient wife.  For beginning movie makers who have a girlfriend or are married, these women will be your late night life line to movie success.  Just don’t expect to have them do more than 2 takes of any one shot.  I normally don’t write down what I want or storyboard anything.  The images run themselves ragged inside my mind over and over and over again until I decide to put it on video.  I knew I wanted to do a morning scene because I wanted to start the short movie off slowly.  I didn’t want the viewer to be instantly gratified like with most things in life.  They have to experience the ride and enjoy every part of it.  The shot of me waking up was actually filmed in the evening.  For a few brief minutes every day and in the right light you can do the dusk for dawn switcheroo.  I might have passed that timeframe in this particular shot, but I think the effect still works.  I did not make a conscious choice to have John Mayer wake me up in the morning; rather it was the only decent song playing on the radio at that time.  I usually agonize over details in anything I do but for some reason in this case, I didn’t feel that the alarm song was particularly important.  Yet, afterwards it worked well to show the overt transition from sleepy baby to wild man with chest hair.  The drinking of the Muscle Milk was the best part of making the movie.  It was banana cream flavor and it tasted delicious.  I had never had one of these protein milkshakes before and I expected it to taste like a minerally Pepto Bismol.  But it was wonderful.  Plus, it was lactose free, which is very important for me.  However, I didn’t quite get to enjoy the milkshake in all its glory because for one, I chugged it and secondly, I had to start screaming and ripping off my shirt immediately afterwards.  My wife had only bought me one bottle of Muscle Milk so I had to get the drinking and screaming shot perfect in one take.  Needless to say, I succeeded because I am after all a professional.  Clint Eastwood and Woody Allen are known as two directors who usually get every shot in one or two takes.  Needless to say, I’m their type of actor.  The most uncomfortable part of the whole movie was having honey spread across my chest so that I could put the fake hair on my chest.  The hair was doll’s hair that came from an arts and crafts store.  I was pleased with the look and luster that it gave off when I reviewed the video in post-production.  The honey as paste held up fairly well, but some hair did come flying off during my raging transformation scenes.  The most controversial part of the movie was the tooth-brushing scene.  I thought logically that no man raging on Muscle Milk would ever stop and brush his teeth.  He would be too busy worrying about feeling his new chest hair and/or breaking stuff in his excitement and pain.  Because naturally, growing chest hair hurts like a bitch.   However, my wife insisted that we do the tooth brushing scene and it turned out remarkably well.  For the first few seconds, it may appear to the viewer that I have rabies or that I’ve overdosed on the Muscle Milk.  Plus, the tooth brushing scene was a perfect transition to the office scene with me running away in my boxers.   This scene probably was the only real transition I could do apart from me running out the front door in my boxers.  However, as I mentioned earlier, we made this part at night so it wouldn’t work for a morning scene. 

Fun facts:  My co-worker in the short movie who asks me for the ubiquitous spreadsheets was actually my co-worker at the time at the USDA.  And indeed it was shot at my actual cubicle there.  Go figure!  Her name is Avis Watts-Massenburg.  She was my best friend at the USDA and I spent many hours in her office just talking bullshit.  If you read my bio in this blog, you will understand why I get along so well with middle-aged black women.  We have a connection that is unbreakable and unexplainable.  My appreciation of black women is unadulterated and unabashed.  I am like Jerry Maguire when he screams, “I LOVE THE BLACK MAN.”  Except, replace man with woman.  Anyways, she is a beautiful, strong woman and an unbelievable talent in front of the camera.  The last scene where she takes the spreadsheets and closes the door on me was done in one take.  The subtle double take was totally improvised and spectacular.  She will certainly be in my full-length love story movie set in D.C.  That face of hers belongs on the tizube.

 The Morning Milk title that appears in giant font at the end was an idea copied from how the movie Drag Me to Hell directed by Sam Raimi ended before the movie transitioned into its credits.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: