Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Muprhy-Goode Job Applicant - @cgiven

Ok it is done. I submitted my application and video for the Murphy-Goode Winery's, A Really Goode Job. I saw the opportunity first on either sfgate or Twitter, the day they had the kickoff event in downtown SF. I thought about it half wittingly, but really became inspired when I saw some of the boring videos that were being submitted! There are definitely a lot of requirements for a mere 60 second video, but the one requirement I thought people were missing the most was, "It should be entertaining". "Put up, or shut up", I thought to myself. So, here it is:

Some interesting facts about my video:
  • I wrote, produced, directed, and starred in this video. Other than valuable feedback from friends and family on draft videos I created, I did everything myself. (see feedback credits below)
  • The equipment I used to shoot was a Canon Powershot SD770IS Digital Elph and a stand (pictured below with my niece). I used iMovie software on a Mac to cut the video.
  • The idea for this came to me in a dream. I dreamt I made a video of me downing a full, huge glass of wine as quick as I could while spilling it all over my shirt.
  • I actually tried to down a huge glass of wine as part of the video, but I could not do it fast enough. (I used water instead of wine to time myself)
  • To not waste wine, I replaced the wine in some shots with watered down apple juice that I painstakingly compared in appearance to Murphy-Goode's Fume (which I drank later).
  • I needed another wine bottle as a prop, and noticed unknowingly and conveniently; an empty bottle of Murphy-Goode Fume in my sister-in-law's recycling (she lives downstairs from me). Score!!!
  • My cat Lucy is usually a royal pain, always begging for food or attention. However, she slept the whole day I shot the indoor scenes. I had to wake her up for her cameo appearance. She wasn't happy.
  • The vineyard shots were at Ksyrahsyrah Vineyards in Napa,CA (with permission from the owners - special thanks to The Osgoods)
  • I had to shoot the vineyard shots on 2 different days, b/c the shots I took on the first days were sub-par in draft feedback from friends. After some tips, I went back for a 2nd day of shooting and battled sun and wind. I took over 50 takes for several hours for about 15 seconds of video.
  • I found out later that the vineyards were sprayed the night before. No wonder I felt light-headed afterwards.
  • The indoor shots were all done in my flat in San Francisco.
  • The music is "Grateful Dawg" by David Grisman & Jerry Garcia (purchased legally from iTunes specifically for this video, b/c I could not find the CD I thought I had of it.). The song also came to me in my sleep.
There was definitely a lot of project management involved. Before even picking up the camera, I wrote a detailed script with each scene getting a specific amount of time so I would properly plan for exactly 60 seconds. I even timed myself saying a bunch of different lines to see how long it would take me to say them. The planning definitely paid off, as it makes shooting much easier when I had an idea of what to shoot and the time constraint for the particular scene I was shooting.

After I made my first cut, I put it up on my own website and invited a select group of friends and family to view it and give me feedback. The final cut did not change much in context from the original, but it definitely got fine tuned. This was one of the most important phases. Not only did it give me validation in what I was doing, but some corrections and creative ideas came out of it. I am definitely a big advocate of not working in a bubble for just this reason. Special thanks to @craisin, @brentium, Julia, Suzanne, Noel, Dad, Aunt Janet, Alice, Cathy, Rupert, & David for all your feedback.

Ok now it's time to talk some smack! Some people submitted some really, really bad and boring videos. So, for all of you people who didn't even try, here is The Murphy-Goode Job Applicants Video Fail Guide, featuring a list of trends and observations I noticed in other people's videos that drove me nuts:
  • Hand held cameras (this isn't the Blair Witch Project) - FAIL!
  • Noticeably reading from a script (you can't memorize a little or wing it?) - FAIL!
  • Drinking wine on camera and giving a cheesy expression of satisfaction afterwards (the most boring 10 seconds your audience ever watched) - FAIL!
  • Talking about how much you love wine (uhh, DUH!) - FAIL!
  • Using less than 60 seconds (Really? You couldn't fill up 60 seconds?) - FAIL!
  • Not including a *video* of yourself in your video (they didn't ask for a Powerpoint presentation) - FAIL!
  • Saying something cheesy and inspirational, like you are reading it off of the back of a wine bottle (Even wine makers laugh at some of the things that get put on the back label) - FAIL!
  • Putting credits with links at the end of your video (Did you also give them these links in your application? I bet you did. You just wasted 10 seconds of video on something no one will read) - FAIL!
  • Not being entertaining, at all - FAIL!
That's all folks. I really enjoyed this as a project, and I really REALLY hope to make it into the next round. The video competition is starting to heat up as compared to the first few weeks, as I'm seeing much more creative content submitted. If at the minimum with this experience, I learned a lot about making a video and how to better operate my camera. Now I want to start taking more video than photographs! May need a bigger hard drive, as my materials for this 60 second video alone were close to 1GB!

Update 5/22/09:
Go on over to Andrea at Andy's Goode Life Blog, who was kind enough to feature a guest posting from me about my video! Thanks Andrea!


  1. Some comments I submitted by request to Andrea at Andy's Goode Life Blog. Thanks Andrea!

    Andrea, Thanks for contacting me via Twitter today. Wow what an exciting day, I released my "really goode job" video today! You asked me for an article on 'why I don't fail'. I'm definitely not fail-proof, and my video is a product of that. I wanted to create something that was a side step from the typical job application. I am banking on the MG crew having a sense of humor, and from watching their videos I gather they are a group who try not to take themselves too seriously. I wanted to demonstrate that I too have that quality in my video. I also wanted to leave them wondering a little more about me, and not try to put it all out on the table in 60 seconds.

  2. And many thanks to you, Craig!

    What I love about this opportunity is the enormous chance to learn and the great networking which could/should happen in the process.

    Regardless of who gets the ticket to Sonoma Valley, we should essentially have built up a community of believers and supporters for Murphy-Goode and learned unpayable lessons along the way.

    Your post here is an awesome checklist for all of us who are still tossing the ideas around.

    Looking forward to great things from you, Craig!

    Have a great long weekend,
    Andy's Goode Life,

  3. Craig,

    I enjoyed the video and especially you sharing your process.

    I liked recycling your sister's bottle, and the apple juice part as well. Cool and resourceful stuff.

    You mentioned that you bought "Grateful Dawg". Does legally downloading from iTunes grant a license to use it on YouTube?

  4. Dear Anonymous,
    To answer your question about using it on YouTube, I would say "it depends". I don't think you can just buy a song on iTunes and then expect to be able to use it for, say, a business commercial. But I don't think there will be a problem if you use a legally purchased iTunes song for a "project" like my MG video. I mean, how much more could I really have done to respect the intellectual property rights of the song makers other than give them credit AND purchase the song? Murphy-Goode stated in their video rules that they would not accept videos that infringed on intellectual property rights of others, and I wanted to demonstrate the I thought about this and did the best I could to consider it. Everyone who uses music they did not compose in their MG video should consider this. (while I'm discussing it, the sound effects in my video were obtained from a website that granted free use of their sound effects. Contact me for source if you need it.). Thanks for the comment! :)