Kevin James' YouTube channel is an example of how simple concepts can be created with a small team and still be cinematic. This is how the Kinnane Brothers do it
In the current production climate, Kevin James' YouTube channel is an example of how simple concepts can be implemented with a small team and really deliver cinematic results. This execution was kindly provided by the Kinnane Brothers, an "independent film company founded by 8 brothers".
With James & # 39; Channel in hand, the Kinnane Brothers used the unique opportunity to work closely with talent at the Hollywood level. Still, they're not afraid to admit that like all of us, they're still scrolling through YouTube for green screen tutorials and DIY tips.
If you haven't had a chance to see Kevin James & # 39; reviving the YouTube comedy, do yourself a favor and watch a few clips – don't worry, this interview will still be here after you finish each Played the "Sound Guy" episode.
I recently spoke to Brendan and Charles Kinnane, two of the eight minds behind the short films on the Kevin James & # 39; channel. They gave me an insight into their creative process, how they worked with Kevin James and why YouTube is really the best source for tutorials on filmmaking.
PremiumBeat: Could you introduce yourself and give us a little background on what you're doing at Kinnane Brothers?
Brendan Kinnane: I am the music supervisor of the Kinnane Brothers.
Charles Kinnane: I am the director of the company's films – and what would you say?
BK: Fearless Leader?
CK: Yes, fearless leader, but these guys are really the creative talent in the whole thing.
PB: Can you explain the name Kinnane Brothers? Are you all brothers?
CK: Seven of us are blood relatives and one is a brother-in-law, Jeff. Jeff and I were actually hired to make a short film, but we were without a crew. We had the idea of hiring our younger brothers. I know there is an old saying: "Could you imagine that you could duplicate to get the job done?" It was like duplicating ourselves, but with people who were more creative and talented. It all came together four years ago. They did things for fun and we got them to do a production. We immediately had a built-in crew.
PB: How did you get in touch with Kevin James on his YouTube channel?
CK: Kevin had seen a short film series that we made together. He reached out through a mutual friend and wanted to meet us. He had the idea of making short films on YouTube. He wanted to do something else. He said: "I'm not really the guy behind the scenes with someone following you with a camera. I want to make short comic films." All the boys took this opportunity and said we would like to do it.
PB: How does the pitch process and writing work? Do you have any ideas? Is Kevin James coming to you with something and are you working on it?
CK: We will give him a lot of ideas and he will respond to some and then we will go this way. "Sound Guy" was something we didn't even think he wanted to do. We shot a comp to show (Kevin) what it would look like. He saw the clip we composed for him and found it the funniest ever. He said, "Let's do it, let's do a lot of it."
BK: Ideas come from everywhere. (Kevin) is there from start to finish. He has all of these great ideas. It is the key factor.
PB: "The Sound Guy" series appears to be the most popular on Kevin & # 39; s Channel. How does each of these concepts come about? How does filming these pieces differ from the more narrative ones?
BK: Our brothers do a great job of being able to adjust the lighting and (Kevin) use it there. People refer to it. They say, "Awe, I saw this film" instead of having to see it for the first time.
PB: How did you recreate the Joker bathroom scene?
BK: You mean … him on the toilet, right? That was only in the studio we were in. It had graffiti everywhere.
CK: That was a real stable. He was in a real bathroom. It was up in the studio and the boys said, "We could somehow keep up. If we have the right lighting. "
BK: The bathroom was as dirty as the original.
PB: My favorite sketches on the channel are the very simple ones, "The Red Light", "Misread Waves" and "CouchX". The comedy sometimes comes from how cinematic and overly dramatic the video is for such a banal moment. How do you deal with these concepts?
CK: I think we are all drawn to simple stories, even Kevin. The great thing about short films on YouTube is that you have a simple idea and can play with it. Someone threw out the idea: what if he's frustrated at a red light?
We literally went outside – that night – and turned it around. It's something everyone can identify with. How could we over-dramatize and relieve the tension? It is really a comedy that everyone can identify with. We also try to do as much as possible without dialogue. We do everything visually, with action.
BK: It almost makes it easier, no dialogue. You don't repeat the same lines every time you take a picture.
CK: One of the things for us as filmmakers (Kevin) is an incredible actor. What he can do with his face and facial expressions is so profound. What an opportunity to present his offer in these short films.
PB: From the point of view of filmmaking, all of these short films are shot, edited and designed like a short film. Where did the idea come from that every short film should be filmic?
CK: When he asked us to build his channel for the first time, it was scary. We knew that the "YouTube challenges" worked or that pranks on YouTube did well. Kevin said, "I don't want to do that. Everyone else does. I just want to do what we want to do. If people respond to it, great. If not, we did what we wanted."
We all agreed with him. We prefer to make short films rather than blog style videos. It gave us freedom. It may be a massive failure, but Kevin has given us the opportunity to do what we want. Let's have fun and laugh at our heads. Do a few things we want to do and make us laugh.
PB: Was it always the idea to keep the skits short, simple, in a few places and with minimal actors? Why did you choose this way?
CK: To be honest, it came from quarantine. The channel was launched just before things blocked. We really couldn't use any other actors. Maybe when things open up we can have bigger set pieces.
BK: It forced us to develop ideas that were only in one area. It can be a challenge. You don't have the freedom to go downtown and shoot.
CK: Brendan is actually the jogger in the "Out of Touch" video, in which they shake hands.
PB: Are many of the additional actors just you and the rest of the team?
CK: Yes exactly. The goal is to get all the brothers into one of the videos.
PB: What are the advantages and disadvantages of working in this quarantine environment?
CK: The disadvantages are that you are limited. You really couldn't go anywhere. Just film in places we had nearby – in parks or places where you wouldn't be closed. One of the things that benefited us was that we were all together all the time. It worked in our favor that we are all family members in the production team. Our quarantine basically consisted of all the brothers and Kevin James. It was a little bit different from the rest of the world in quarantine, but we were lucky.
PB: Her videos are an example of how simple concepts can still be implemented well with a small team and good storytelling techniques. What does a typical crew look like for each sketch and did you have to adapt anything to the current pandemic situation?
CK: Great filmmakers told us that, and they roll their eyes: "Do it on an iPhone." And we say, "Easy for you to say." But it's really true. You can really do a lot with a little.
The sketch "A Star is Born" was shot in a cafeteria with a couple of DJ lights, a DJ smoke shield from the Guitar Center and a swivel chair to record the special effects. We put Kevin on a chair and he slowly turned. John, the youngest, the After Effects guru, then adapted it to Lady Gaga's movements. It's just something he learned on YouTube, not things he went to school for. It's crazy – you can take pictures of things on an iPhone that is cinematic and use DJ lights.
The younger boys in the group are so intent on doing things right and making them perfect, instead of being satisfied with what's good enough. You need to use the limited tools for it to look great. We have seen all the films that had a budget of $ 100 million but looked horrible. It requires attention to detail and the use of very limited resources to make the shot look great.
Here's a quick VFX overview of how we edited the sketch "A Sound Guy Is Born" with @KevinJames. You can watch the final video on Kevin's YouTube channel. pic.twitter.com/m1Qj2ZpuOD
– Kinnane Brothers (@KinnaneBrothers), May 5, 2020
PB: Sound design is often overlooked, especially among newer filmmakers. Many of the sketches use audio as the main component of the play or narrative. Could you talk about its meaning and how to use audio in storytelling?
CK: It has been said that sound and music make up fifty percent of a film experience. For us it is even more. For a small company, the sound design is over fifty percent. We spend so much time looking for music. Brendan spends most of his day looking for music when we're not shooting. It's great to have someone who is fully committed to it. We do our best with our graphics, but it increases the experience to a whole level when the music pops and the sound design has a lot of attention to detail. The cheaper you are, the more you have to invest in sound design.
PB: I took a look at your Instagram feed – you work with real Hollywood talent, but still use a lot of DIY film techniques. I liked the contrast of an ALEXA paired with a homemade PVC dolly. Could you share some of your favorites?
CK: It's a bit of a mess that we have an ALEXA, but it's on a PVC dolly. Oh, tell him about the rain machine.
BK: Oh yes, we built a rain machine. We learned that online. It was like a YouTube video. They use some PVC and some sprinklers. It was like four or five sprinklers and eight feet long. The total cost was maybe $ 50.
CK: Yes, you can only find one way. We use what we have. It's not as good as a real dolly, you know, but it works with a bit of Warp Stabilizer in Premiere. As a young filmmaker, there are so many excuses: I don't have it, I don't have it. YouTube has shown us that you can find a way to do it. If you don't have a rain machine, build one of four sprinklers. There is no excuse not to do things.
PB: You seem to find it very pleasant to use green screen in your projects. What advice would you give to filmmakers who may be hesitant to include green screen in their work?
BK: It all started when we said, "Wouldn't it be great if we could shoot in this place?" And my brother John said, "Well, what if we make it green?"
None of us knew how to do it right. There was a lot of YouTube to watch and moments from "Ohhh, that's how you do it." The biggest thing is to adjust the lighting. Once you have the lighting, everything looks like home.
With "Ryan Gosling doesn't give me a sound check" we were very lucky. This was actually filmed outside, just sunlight and the perfect location while most of the “Sound Guy” sketches are made indoors.
PB: What's next for you and the channel?
CK: We hope the channel continues to grow and attract an audience that appreciates filmmaking. We have a number of scripts that we have written and hope that they will be produced. And after we quarantine, we'll start a little indie film.
We love the process and the creativity that is there. YouTube has given us the opportunity to do things on a small scale that are shared with many people. The community is great and it's fun to be part of it and make films.
Cover picture about Kinnane Brothers.