26. Seven more vibe reels
and why I made them
Hello again friends!
This will be a ‘building in public’ style post, describing my experiments with video production. For a bit of an index:
I anguished about artistry in Issue 7: On heroic sincerity.
I turned this anguish into fiction in Issue 10: The Holy Encyclopedia.
I articulated a North Star for spiritual communication in Issue 8: On piercing experiential visions. That’s where we’re trying to get to.
I finally started making videos in Issue 13: CURZIISM goes to the movies.
I elaborated on this journey in Issue 23: Faith in the Muse.
I linked a shitload of videos and described my Twitch talk show in Issue 20: A gigantic bushel of videos.
Today I’ll go through my recent series of eight vibe reels one by one, and share a bit about each and where they came from.
What is a vibe reel?
Vibe reels are multisensory articulations of spiritual concepts.
Vibe reels are short (<2 min 20 seconds, ideally as low as 30-45 seconds).
Vibe reels are the way I’ve found to practice making sick content that enlightens and entertains.
Vibe reels are an MVP.
Mammon is the demonic personage of greed.
𝘔𝘢𝘮𝘮𝘰𝘯, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘚𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘧𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘍𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘯: 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴 𝘞𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘥𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘣𝘦𝘯𝘵, 𝘢𝘥𝘮𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘏𝘦𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘯'𝘴 𝘱𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵, 𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘥𝘥𝘦𝘯 𝘨𝘰𝘭𝘥, 𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘺 𝘦𝘭𝘴𝘦 𝘦𝘯𝘫𝘰𝘺𝘦𝘥 𝘐𝘯 𝘷𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘣𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘧𝘪𝘤.
- John Milton, Paradise Lost
I wanted to make a video about Mammon because Mammon was on my mind. I think it’s appropriate to somewhat (but not excessively) fear, loathe, and despise the compromises and temptations of the the market. So I wanted to convey that.
This was my first reel. I figured out how to get stock videos (from stock video sites, some of which are free and some of which charge reasonable subscriptions - others of which are ridiculously pricey but also have great content). I found sick music which I could legally share, dug into Adobe Premiere, and slapped it together.
It has remained one of my favorites, largely because of how unapologetic it is. I heard it compared to music videos by Gesaffelstein *fans self*
Continuing the connection to Paradise Lost as well as the demonic theme, MISCHIEF contains a Milton quote expressing how, on the second day of their battle with the armies of Heaven, the armies of Hell invented the gun.
This is obviously the coolest fucking idea in the universe.
Early in the process I was thinking of making an entire Milton series. Maybe I will someday. I like old books, and not everyone gets it, so there’s always a subterranean aim of tempting a few people to pick up Paradise Lost. (The Audible audiobook is great; like Shakespeare, it takes some attention to pick up the rhythm and pacing of the old language, but once you get the flow it’s a lot easier. Also, it benefits from multiple listens. Anyway)
In this reel I experimented with adding a voiceover. Unfortunately, the old-timey language makes the message a bit hard to understand. I uploaded some good subtitles to the YouTube video, which I recommend turning on, but nevertheless something may have been lost in the process.
The first two videos were kind of heavy, and I wanted to try my hand at something lighter, funnier, and a bit more worldly. I wasn’t sure what to make a video about. So I made COFFEE.
I think the music really makes this one work, and I’m pleased with how the timing came together. The innovation on COFFEE was to include some video of myself, to see if that could fit. I like COFFEE.
Sacred Harp music is so beautiful. The Sacred Harp is a songbook of American religious hymnals with origins in the 1700s Appalachian region and the east coast.
I expect to always and forever use the spiritual artistic energy in my power to convey the best and dopest shit from history. This was an attempt at that.
The vibe reel contains recordings from 1928 and a sample from a speech in Georgia in the 1970s. But modern recordings arguably capture the energy in a more vibrant way:
Making this one SUCKED. The video part was easy enough. But I spent SO LONG trying to get permission from all kinds of ancient rights holders and long-dead recording companies. Many emails were sent. One kind gentleman from Mississippi University actually got back to me. I ended up using a music clip I liked but not one as glorious as I would have wanted.
In other words, I love the reel, but learned that copyright can be a real bitch when working on content creation.
Thinkwert, an extremely cool dude on Twitter (who I was lucky enough to host on my talk show) made a Twitter-based choose-your-own-adventure game, called The Prisoner and The King:
I played it and loved it. I leaned into that energy. It reminded me of fantasy games, books I read as a kid, old castles, lost loves, shadowy memories. So I made a reel.
Process-wise, the unique think about this reel was that I made it in reference to an existing project. I like trying to support cool things, and hope to be able to do that in many ways in the long term, so I tried to go zero-to-one in some capacity, even if it was unplanned.
Also, ‘media’ is communicating with people; it helps to talk about something they might be thinking about. This thought process led to the next vibe reel.
The next one requires a bit of context, so I’ll put the ‘concept’ section before the actual video.
This tweet went viral:
People were going apeshit, with QC haters and defenders appearing en masse from every corner.
I had to do something:
Is the reel pro QC? Anti? I am but a simple bard; I cannot possibly explain. But I hope it is received in the spirit with which it was proffered.
In line with my expectations, commenting on an ‘ongoing event’ got this reel more attention than a bunch of the others.
The reel itself is a bit rough; I hacked it together in an evening. Also, this one is not copyrightable due to the William Shatner music, so if I sell my reels as NFTs someday I probably can’t sell this one. But I had a lot of fun with it.
Whim! It is short and sweet. Maybe I’m afraid of women or something.
The girl in the clip caught my eye, and I’d been looking for a way to use this music clip in a vibe reel. This one was relatively easy to produce, and if I want to crank these out at a higher rate, this is a proof of its possibility. I was happy with how short it is; in the context of a place like Twitter it’s pretty easy to justify watching a 45 second video.
This reel quotes the Italian Futurist Manifesto (1909). The young Italian futurists founded an art movement in search of "courage, audacity and Revolt" at a time when the new beauty of Speed was made accessible through the advent of the automobile.
I’ve loved this underrated speech forever, and wanted to see what I could manifest of that vital spirit.
Like MISCHIEF, SPEED involves a voiceover. Unlike MISCHIEF, the voice actor isn’t me; it’s an Italian guy from Fiverr.
This was an experiment in upping the production quality and trying spend a bit of money to see whether I could boost the quality. I like how it turned out, though I’m a bit unsure how understandable the words are (due to the music and everything else that’s going on). But I love the energy and really want to return to the Italian Futurists in some capacity.
More vibe reels, should they appear, will be uploaded at the YouTube playlist.