What Are You Doing, Movie? is a commentary podcast with a difference - all of the members of the Friends In Your Head family are, in some way, involved in the film industry and work on movies for a living. Sometimes we even worked on the movies we run commentary on. Sometimes we're not proud of it.
Every Sunday a new episode drops into your iTunes feed, which can be synced up with the movie in question and listened to as a commentary, or loaded onto your iPod and listened to as a particularly in-depth film podcast. Either way, it works. Sometimes it works better than others. Sometimes the episode isn't even a commentary.
As a group, we wear a lot of hats to cover our fanboy shame. An itty bitty little bit of authority in the form of industry experience, a perhaps-unhealthy interest in comedy and booze, and always firsthand information in the areas close to our heart and expertise. Even moreso, focus on story and story theory is still what really fascinates us, and when a movie doesn't work, we try to fix it.
We are not a film review show. We don't give a bad movie one less star - we exercise the brain muscles it takes to make a story great. We like to think of movies as machines, working parts, big systems invented to tell a story. If the machine is broken, we'll locate the cog that started it. Take it out. Pitch better ideas, solve the problems, make it good. Some of us are writers, some of us aren't, but the mission of Friends In Your Head is simple: all movies can work, few movies do. Maybe they just need some douchebags on the internet to crack the case.
We've gotten better at being a podcast over the comin'-up-on four years since we started this thing, but we're still a little rough around the edges. You'll have to forgive us for cracking each other up and occasionally talking over each other. We've got funny faces and little hope. We're kind of weird, but hey, at least we're consistent.
As Brian once said, "we're professionals...but not at this."
Teague Chrystie hails from everywhere in the country, but mostly Arkansas, Indiana, and California. He was in junior high school when he began screwing around with the Adobe programs Photoshop and After Effects, and he never stopped - he's still in junior high school to this day.
In Florida he attended the DAVE School for Digital Animation and Visual Effects, and co-founded the geeky talk-radio podcast Geekza with then-roommate Chris Hanel. After graduating in the top-ish region of his class-ish group, Geekza wrapped up and Teague moved to Hollywood with a job in tow.
In 2009, he got in touch with a few guys he thought might be interested in a new podcast venture based solely on commentaries. Brian from Geekza, Michael from TFN, and his friend and previous landlord, Trey. It wasn't much more than a lark, but they set aside an evening and tried it. It was fun.
Since moving to California, he has worked as a visual effects artist on TV shows, movies, music videos, and commercials, and is currently employed as a VFX guy working on feature films.
On the show, he provides the record button and microphones, and occasionally introduces people. Sometimes he cusses. He's not a fan of racist jokes, but is a fan of racism jokes. When not being all DIF-ish, he throws massive, movie-themed parties at the DIF studio, twists balloon animals, juggles, and tries to get people to sing Disney songs by his piano.
Michael "Dorkman" Scott is one of the few true Los Angeles natives, and having been dunked in the LA vat of filmmaking as such, he drips with the stuff. A writer, visual effects artist, director, and RED camera technical operator, he spends his free time learning even more filmmaking skills in the hope that he will eventually become, I dunno, Jafar or something.
After over ten years as an active member and eventually moderator of TheForce.net's fanfilms community, he earned the unfortunate title of He Who Has Rotoscoped Most Lightsabers Ever, as well as the honor of being listed with Ryan on TIME's list of the Top Ten Fan Films for their wildly popular Ryan vs. Dorkman series of (really good) lightsaber fights. They are number two.
In the professional world, Michael has been around the block in a number of shoes, primarily as a visual effects artist and writer. Having lent his skills to productions for television, film, and web series, as well as music videos and every other form of anything, he has a lot to say about the right way of getting things done.
On Friends In Your Head, we call the act of single-handedly concocting a stronger plot and storyline on the spot "pulling a Dorkman," and his reworked treatments of the Star Wars prequels and pitch for a better sequel series to The Matrix are enough to make any DIF fan a little depressed - not only are they good, but they're nothing like the movies we got.
Brian Finifter will die protecting New Jersey's legacy, and was probably born hating Daytona Beach. An expatriate of both, he's a graduate of Full Sail with a degree in film and of Embry-Riddle Aeronautic University with a degree in communications, and is an ongoing student of the theater at Playhouse West in North Hollywood.
After a childhood built of sci-fi - Star Trek, Star Wars and later historical classics like Apollo 13 - he became interested in the prospect of making spaceships for the movies at Industrial Light and Magic. When the practical spaceships were replaced by digital spaceships, the tantrum that ensued lasted twelve years, and involved him moving into a small capsule in Siberia and peeing in bottles. The exact events of this time are unknown. What is known is that when he emerged, he started churning out comedy sketches that became viral video hits.
In 2006, The Injured Stormtrooper was released. It now holds the number six spot on IGN's Top Ten Favorite Fanfilms. (Residing, it's worth pointing out, right alongside films by Trey, and Ryan and Dorkman.) In 2007 it was Thanksgiving With The Kranzes, a loving parody of Apollo 13 that became a favorite of not only the actual freaking astronauts of mission Apollo 13, but of Gene Kranz himself. (Ed Harris, people. The main guy. With the vest.)
Since then, he's been in Hollywood working as an editor, writer, cinematographer, and actor. You can hear him every week telling us how hard the actors have it, how bad the movie's science is, how amazing The Next Generation was, and sometimes he even manages to slip in something optimistic about the space program. If he can't have his spaceships, he damn sure hopes someone else can.
Trey Stokes has a god damned Wikipedia page. You peruse that, I'll teach the controversy.
Our resident old man on the porch, Trey's career is a little mind-blowing. Having grown up making short films in the '70s and later graduating from USC film school, he spent most of the '80s in or around puppets on stage and screen. He was The Blob, and the main puppeteer and movement designer for the creatures in James Cameron's The Abyss.
At the very outset of computer animation in film, Trey was there, and was part of one of the first demonstrations of how computers could be used for movies. Eventually he put that knowledge and his puppet history to good use, acting as creature supervisor for all the digital critters in Starship Troopers, among myriad other credits in other things for other jobs.
In the '00s, he made a name for himself online and at Skywalker Ranch with his Star Wars parody Pink Five, a personal favorite of George's and an occupant of both the IGN and TIME lists of top ten fanfilms. He's the only person on the show, and it's safe to assume the only person in the world, to mix his Star Wars movie at Skywalker Ranch...and his Beatles movie at Abbey Road Studios.
On the show, Trey dispenses knowledge and anecdotes in some weird kind of never-ending faucet of amazing. We call him Trey "The Amazing!" Stokes. You call him sir.
Eddie Doty is a renaissance man. We tend to rely on him for his encyclopedic knowledge of comic books, combat, and of what it was like to edit a show starring Flavor Flav, but we could just as well rely on him for encyclopedic knowledge of how to sleep with all of your mothers. He's versatile.
Having edited a small ocean of television series, as well as short and feature films, and performed and coordinated stunts, and directed documentaries, and produced shows, his next goal is something we can't quite anticipate but are suitably alarmed by. There's like a seventy-five, maybe eighty percent chance of it being something with lasers.
After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned to civilian life and became involved in the early days of MMA, producing a feature documentary on the subject and learning fighting styles from Muay Thai to that thing guys do where they can beat you up but decide not to and you feel like an asshole. You can hear him on Friends In Your Head learnin' us something about just about everything, leading by example, and quoting Walter Murch.
Ryan Wieber is a multi-Emmy award winning visual effects artist and generally unaccomplished person. An immigrant from the uncharted wilderness of "Northern" (?) California, his lifelong interest in filmmaking and visual effects began in the backyard, making short films and FX tests using the simplest of tricks and forced perspective gags.
His ongoing pursuit of self-amusement, specifically making fake things look real, was observed throughout the early '00s by the TFN Fanfilms community as his ever-more complicated and interesting FX tests were shared with the very earliest of digital filmmakers. His methodology and tutorials for creating the lightsaber glow effect in Adobe After Effects became the global standard and appreciable benchmark for all that followed, and still are. Between his status as "the lightsaber guy," and the worldwide viral hits he shares with Dorkman (Ryan vs. Dorkman, and Ryan vs. Dorkman 2), and the minor matter of having been hired at Lucasarts as a result of the combination, it's safe to say the years of tracing dowel rods and making them blue paid off.
Since then, he has worked as a full-time employee of Stargate Digital and racked up an impressive, nigh unbelievable list of visual effects credits, and two Emmy awards for outstanding visual effects.
These days he spends a lot of time thinking about movies, releasing his own exhaustive movie reviews and equally exhaustive annual mash-ups of Friends In Your Head moments for the anniversary shows, and selling - yeeeeeup - film-quality stunt lightsaber props that he designed himself.
Chris Hanel is a force of geek nature. An Iowa native, his high school and college years were spent fully wired in to the burgeoning TFN Fanfilms community, and his breadth of creative contribution is impressive. His fan film, The Formula, a fifty-minute underground epic, is listed by many of those weird fanfilmy people as their favorite...and was the first time Dorkman and Ryan ever paired up to do a lightsaber project together. He was also the brain and energy behind the proto-podcast Digital Llama Radio in 2001. Four nerdy guys would gather around a mixer board and talk about movies - fanfilms, in their case - and shoot the shit.
Somewhere, a sad fat boy was listening. And Digital Llama Radio were the friends in his head. ("Ohhhhhhhhh! Thing! Teague is the fat boy! That's where it came from!" Yes. You're very smart. Shut up.)
In the years that followed, Teague would join forces with Chris as a student at the DAVE School and as a co-host, with the founding of their podcast Geekza. After graduating at the same time, Teague became all visual effectsy, and Chris became all gamey, going on to work as a game designer on major titles released and unreleased. Along the way he worked as a contributing writer for something called Rifftrax (I think they do commentaries too?) as well as founded his own riffing group Riff Raff Theater, who performed to packed houses of certified nerds.
These days you can find him at any number of computers doing any number of things, getting paid to make video games happen, or co-writing the World of Warcraft webcomic he founded in 2010, The Daily Blink. (Yes, Chris founded The Daily Blink. Those of you who follow WoW just went "ooooooh.") The really frustrating thing is that he's just as good on Friends In Your Head, which basically gives everyone an inferiority complex.
Jake Lloyd is not that Jake Lloyd. He's actually been Jakely Lloyding for longer, so you have that backwards. Bet you feel pretty awful now, doncha?
A New York native turned Los Angeles stereotype, Jake is a stand-up comedian, actor, writer and recognized geek in good standing in this state. As a stand-up, he's worked with Brian Posehn, Daniel Tosh, Tom Wilson and others, and as a stereotype, he has been known to rock some facial hair and write short films.
A recurring face on the popular DIY filmmaking series Backyard FX on Indy Mogul, and recurring voice on the podcast powerhouse Nobody Likes Onions, we find it uncomfortably difficult to navigate a life on internet without bumping into him. Eventually it just became easier to encourage the guy.
You can find his work across YouTube, having created the webseries Days of Wayne and multiple sketch films and shorts, not to mention appeared in more than a few thousand other videos. It's possible that Jake is trying to photobomb the entire internet, and with a face like that, who could resist. He's currently in post production on his film The Skull Rosary and making out with his dog Cosmo.
Cloe "Cloe Z" Zimmerman hails from the Geekza days, and on the rare occasion she makes an appearance on Friends In Your Head, you can expect trademark sarcasm and knowledge of all the things the girl too cool for you in high school was knowledgable about.
After graduating from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Psychology, and an arm-length list of theater production credits as a stage manager and sound engineer, she pursued an interest in visual effects interning at The Sanctuary in London. This continued interest brought her to Hollywood and to Flash Film Works, where she ran into Teague and, by extension, the rest of the sorry lot.
She can be heard on the commentaries for Legion, Explorers, Pan's Labyrinth, and a few others, but these days you're more likely to hear her in the background, mumbling disappointment to herself about how the boys are actually watching Priest or something.
When not drinking scotch and watching Muppet movies, she works toward her PhD in a medical field, having gracefully fallen up from her career in visual effects.
Matt "Fayda" Vayda is an unstoppable force of helpful. From explaining the Alien sequels to illuminating us on war movies, his on-air contributions are highly valued, but the real trick to a Matt Vayda is the off-air stuff. More on that in a minute.
Growing up enamored with Star Wars but unable to make the immediate jump into the movie business, he joined the U.S. Army and served for nearly a decade, including a fourteen-month tour in Iraq in the early '00s.
Eventually discovering Ryan vs. Dorkman 2, and by extension Geekza, he involved himself in the chatrooms and the forming community. By the time he moved to LA, he had become a fan and a friend of Friends In Your Head. Eventually becoming not only a panelist but the unofficial DIF production assistant, setting up and striking recording gear and managing show notes during recordings, he proved to be a reliable and highly appreciated member of the DIF family, and so remains to this day.
Among his many MVP moments, he introduced show notes, the official glossary, artwork for the audio files, the Amazon store, and enhanced versions of the show with embedded links and dynamic screen-capture artwork. In 2010 he moved to Florida to enroll as a student at Full Sail, where he's further arming himself with the skills to realize his life-long ambition of just working in the god damned movie industry already.
Holden Hill's best on-air moment, and basically his only on-air moment, was pressing play on Raiders of the Lost Ark at the live Meltdown 100th episode orgasmaganza. He came out to just do a little bit of that old school representin,' because despite not being an on-air member of the DIF team, he's perhaps the most important at the end of the day.
Without Holden Hill, you're not reading this text. Or finding episodes. Or hearing the show in the first place.
An old friend of Teague's and Indiana resident, Holden has been a computer whiz since at least 1776, and is the webmaster for Friends In Your Head. When Teague wants something completely impossible to happen on the site, Holden makes it happen. (More often, when Teague is an idiot and has no idea something can be better, Holden does, and makes that happen too.) (Extremely often, when Teague screws something up, Holden dies a little inside and cleans it up.) He's been doing this shit since jump street, and has been a part of the DIF family as long as anybody.
He currently resides in the Indianapolis area and has an actual grown-up job as a web developer, as well as the unique qualification among the group of being employable outside of Hollywood.