Introducing….Cowpatty Bill Productions
I love movies. A lot. I even like commercials when they’re humorous and original. One of my favorite places in the world to be is sitting in the middle seat of the middle row of a large darkened movie theater. I get excited when the lights dim and previews begin. I remember when I was young my friend Steve once went to the movies with me “just to see the previews”. At the time I thought to myself how strange it was to spend 3 bucks (or whatever it cost back then) to watch previews and not really care about the actual movie playing. Now I understand why. Previews get you excited about what’s coming. You get that sneak peak at whatever tale of adventure or intrigue or action or comedy will soon be playing out before your eyes. Assuming of course that it’s a movie that you WANT to see. So far I’m a pretty good judge of whether a movie will be any good based solely from the preview. I’ve only been wrong a couple times. And I rarely read reviews because I typically don’t agree with what a critic has to say about a particular film.
I even like to play a little game while I’m sitting there.
I try to guess the production company based on their logo clip. You know what I mean. The easy ones are 20th Century Fox with it’s search lights, or MGM Studios with it’s lion, or Paramount Pictures with it’s flying stars and mountain.
There are others that are not so easy unless you’ve seen them and memorized them. For example, which production company has the rock skipping across the water? Give up? Walden Media. How about the one where you see a kid from behind as he leaps off the end of a dock? That’s Lakeshore. It’s a fun little game for me because there are new production companies all the time so there’s always a challenge.
Where am I going with all this? Well, it’s no secret that I enjoy making videos. I long for the day when I can afford some top notch editing software so I can really see what I am able to create. In the meantime I’m happy fiddling around with Windows Movie Maker. I decided that it was time for me to make my own production company logo clip. I can then attach it to the end of the videos I make. So I began the process. First by hunting down some 10 or 15 second long music that was original and memorable. Some production companies use music, like Disney, while others are silent, like Amblin Entertainment.
I lean more towards having the memorable music. I mean as soon as you hear that snare drum begin you know it’s 20th Century Fox.
So I picked out a few different tunes. One I liked a lot because it included whistling and few things stick in your head like a good whistling song. How many of you can whistle the theme to The Andy Griffith Show? If you’ve seen it more than once you probably have the tune memorized. It’s that catchy. My second favorite had a more western sound.
Next I needed to figure out what the clip would look like. I started by looking at add-on clips that you can download for Windows Movie Maker but none of them appealed to me. So then I searched for free clips. I wanted something that invoked a sense of nostalgia. Something that would harken back to the old days. Like the 60’s or 70’s. Back when things were less complicated and more pure. I found one of a young kid running up a grassy yard toward a window that had home-made pies cooling on the sill. I thought it would work very nicely until I discovered that it cost $40 to purchase it. Back to the drawing board I went. I then decided to go back even further in time. Since I go by the name Cowpatty Bill I reasoned that maybe the clip should be about cowboys.
I dug deeper into the bowels of the internet and found a website that contained royalty free movies. One of the oldest movies they had was called “The Great Train Robbery”, a 1903 American action Western film by Edwin S. Porter. The entire movie is 12 minutes long. I watched it, looking for something I could use. I was just about to give up when, at the very end, there’s a scene of an old cowboy staring directly into the camera and slowly firing all 6 rounds from his gun. Aha!! That was it. I downloaded the clip, converted it to a .wmv file and imported it into my editing software. I selected just the scene with that old cowboy. I added some after effects, like making it a little more grainier than it already was, I sped it up 2 or 3 times so he fired his gun faster, and had it fade out. I then added the western themed music I had found earlier and finally the production company name at the end and ta-da… it was done.
I also created a variation where I used the whistling music but it just doesn’t fit as well as the western one.
So now, for your viewing pleasure, here is the production company clip for Cowpatty Bill….