Film Ideas

Years ago I created and facilitated an open-mic style video screening in Portland called Broadcast. It ran almost monthly for about 5 years. I stopped it almost 5 years ago now, and for the last couple of weeks I have felt the need to revive it. I love the art of filmmaking, and while I work in and enjoy the field of film production, it’s hardly the same thing to me. Maybe because I work mostly in advertisement, but feature films are not really what I think of as the art of filmmaking. Maybe to the director or writer, but to me the field of production is about working to produce something that someone else wants. The art of filmmaking to me, has always been about producing something that I want to give to other people.

So I’ve had this list of film ideas. I always keep lists of film ideas. I had an hour bus commute to my arts high school, so I would create titles, lists and lists of titles, and sometimes if one of them struck me, I would shoot it. My favorite, and maybe I’ll put it up here sometime, was “Murder Me Elmo,” which of course I made during the “tickle me elmo” craze, and yes, it was basically a bad, 5 minute version Childs Play, only Elmo in place of Chuckie. But this exercise made me good at brainstorming titles, and seeing potential in the idea. There are others I remember that are not really funny, but funny to me, like “Jerry McScientologistGuire” (I had a thing about scientology back then!). But I could tell which ones were more of an inside joke, and which ones would be funny to a larger audience (As an ironic side, in spite of my own propensity of coming up with names, I didn’t give myself the name Urban Scout).

I started Broadcast when I was 17, after dropping out of high school I had no outlet for filmmaking, so I created one. This event grew to have an underground cultish following and also allowed me to experiment with indigenous culture-making tools that I had learned at Jon Youngs “Art of Mentoring.” But more importantly, it inspired me to keep making funny, meaningful shorts.

During a 6 month hiatus of Broadcast, I attended Tom Brown Jr.s “Philosophy I” in which we did various meditations with strangers. One in particular was a meditation in which your stranger would get images that were important to your life. Maybe they would see your house or your car or your desk or some art you made, etc. My partner described a black triangle. I had no idea what he meant, and the image of a triangle, a pyramid, a symbol of hierarchy, scared the hell out of me! He even said the triangle was extended on one side, an isosceles.

Months later I was running Broadcast again, this time I was calling myself a “VJ” the way they do on MTV. A few hours before the event I was making a sort of uniform for my position, a black t-shirt that I was spray painting VJ on. The logo for Broadcast was the play button from a VCR. A triangle, extended on one side. As I painted it onto the black t-shirt I had a flash back to Philosophy I. I opened up my journal from that week and turned to the page to see that in fact, it was the triangle that my partner had seen. I knew at that moment that Broadcast would always have a deep meaning in my life. In fact, it was the catalyst for my entire identity as Urban Scout.

At the time I was big into Joseph Campbell and I read that for a few indigenous cultures, ritual scarification and tattooing was a way of physically changing the body so that the person, after going through a ritual, would recognize that they were different and act accordingly. I decided to get the logo tattooed on my forearm to always remind me of my vision in life; to promote sustainable cultural change through filmmaking.

At some point, I stopped noticing the tattoo. It just becomes part of your body. I forget what it’s meaning was. I’ve made a couple videos in the last 5 years, but now I’m craving them again. I’ve returned to my original inspiration for culture change and I plan on bringing Broadcast back, at least the spirit of it, in a new monthly event I’m going to call “stumptube.”A combination of Stumptown (One of Portlands other names) and Youtube. Portland has changed a lot in the last 5 years, and so have I. A new name, new face, same awesomeness. Hold on to your hats Portland filmmakers!

So here are is my current list of film ideas/titles (both good and bad) that I hope to shoot this Spring and Summer:

•    Law and Order: Anit-Civ Unit
•    Anti-Civ Canvasser
•    Born to Rewild (Music video)
•    Rewild Style (Rewilding fashion show)
•    Extreme Earth Rapers (New Reality TV show ala “Axe Men”)
•    Adventures of Urban Scout shorts
•    Rewilding 101 (informative video for
•    Earth Skills are Easy (Instructional Videos)
•    Urban Scout Voodoo Doll (new childs toy)
•    Street Corner Prophesizing (filmed “performance art”)
•    CSI: Molalla
•    Captain Planet; where are they now?
•    Spoof on Internet Dating commercial; Couples that met in real life
•    Survivorman: Molalla

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9 Comments on “Film Ideas”

  1. “Captain Planet; where are they now?”

    That would be just about the most hilarious thing ever.

  2. Man I just read about your Trojan Horse Shoes–that is one hell of an idea!!! I might have to emulate so I can can get away with going barefoot at work!
    I’m planning on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in moccasins this year and I figure traipsing around barefoot for a couple months will help toughen up my feet. Did you use Converse? Seems like those would be the easiest to dismantle…

  3. Nice! i used an old pair of adidas… they were kind of like a Vans rip off. It was not easy! haha. Plus the shoe like to “bow” out and can look weird. I put a rubber band around it to keep it wrapped tightly around my foot. This kind of looks weird but really no one noticed. more people noticed that I walked funny. haha. In the city you still have to watch for glass and shit and a few times I stepped on glass. Once even when my callous was thick a chuck of glass went all the way through. that sucked. haha. If I were to do it now, I would definitely use converse.

  4. Use No Sweat sneakers instead of converse. Not only are they better in regard to that whole slave labor thing, and are usually cheaper, I think they’re more comfortable, too.

  5. Thanks for the tip Dan–looks like they have folded up the tent or are short on stock though. Unless you wear a size 6 or wear pink sneakers… I bought some old dress shoes at a thrift store that I’m gonna give whirl–more suitable for my office environment.

  6. yeah, i’m with Will – “Captain Planet; where are they now?” totally breached my lol resistance…i laughed & laughed! i’m so excited about these films. i know someone who has participated in several entries for the 48-hour film project in portland, and could maybe get you some contacts from the crews he’s worked with. might just want to sidestep his direct involvement though…he’s a declared anarcho-futurist/nano-technologist…aaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!

    looking forward to your creations & thanks for always electrifying this movement to dismantle the machine (until there’s no more juice left in the grid and we’re finally free).

  7. Hi Urban Scout,

    A while back I sent you an email about how your blog helped to change my life, and talked about my struggles with rewilding, and asked for a little bit of advice on what to do in my current situation. Instead of responding, the next blog post you made included something about not caring about emails you get from people telling you how you’ve helped to change their lives. This made me think of you as a pompous celebrity who thinks he’s too good for everyone else.