Tuesday, March 19, 2013


This is just a quick swing through the blog to announce that Filmmakermagazine.com has just posted an article about Planet X, the webseries Jacob Hensberry and I made (with Super Su, of course).  Well, the article is actually about repurposing other formats as webseries, but, let's be honest.  It's about Planet X.

Here's the link: http://filmmakermagazine.com/66936-the-many-different-roads-to-a-web-series/

Enjoy.  I'll be back here soon to post pictures of me with helicopters, the Muppets, and a guy on fire.  Seriously.  That's really the life I lead...


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Have you ever been to Miami?  A lot of people have.  Ponce De Leon was one of them.  Kim Kardashian and We Are Scientist's Keith Murray are two others.  And now I, Kenneth Wilfred Cook*, can be added to that prestigious list.  Okay, in truth, I've been to Miami a bunch of times, but on those trips I mostly spent my time wondering when I would be allowed to leave Miami and I can honestly say that until this trip I had never slept within the confines of Miami-Dade County.  The simple fact is that I've just never found Miami that interesting of a destination.  However, after recently spending a little over two weeks there, I have learned to...well, let's not say "like" Miami, as that would be a little less than accurate, but I can confidently say that I don't dislike Miami.  It has it's perks in the form of great weather and aesthetic pleasantries, but I still have this suspicion that Miami Beach and South Beach are pretty much what Los Angeles would be like if Los Angeles was only West Hollywood.  But with alligator-sized mosquitoes.  Oh, and alligators, as well.  Those sea cow things are pretty cool, though, and I've heard that they taste exquisite.  Anyway, let's get to the meat of this South Beach diet...


Without any joking around, I'll say that the show I was working on in Miami was actually pretty dope and I look forward to it airing in, oh, I don't know...within the next year or so.  Here, let me tell you all about it.  It's called...

Ruh-roh!!!  No, that's not the name of the show.  I can't tell you the name of the show**.  You see, when you work on a TV show, especially a competition show, you have to sign this little document called a Non-Disclosure Agreement.  It basically says that if you talk to anyone not directly related to the production of the show about any content aspect of the show, you'll get the living shit sued out of you.  The fact that this show had an impressively large purse of prize money makes it even trickier, legally, to talk about it at all.  There's a list of rules that production companies legally have to follow in competition shows with prize money to a) protect themselves from any lawsuits alleging impropriety, and b) avoid angering the feds.  So, sorry, dudes.  When the show airs I'll write about it episode by episode.  I will be able to do that due to the fact that while the show itself is cool, some of the work days involved in making it have significantly and permanently scarred my brain.  So, when was the last time you worked a 105 hour work week?

Here's a few things I can tell you about this trip:

-Miami exists in a strange, alternate timeline in which rock and roll never happened.  Honestly, I'm totally cool with that, as guitar music has been absolute garbage for the past decade or so and finally needs to be stomped out by a giant boot.

-Kid Capri is super cool and his birthday party was a shit-ton of fun.

-If you go to Miami, I highly recommend visiting the beach.  I've heard it's nice, although I have zero first hand proof of that, as I never got a chance to go.

-Just because a sushi place has a five star review rating on Yelp doesn't mean that it's actually good.

-Miami defies one of the oldest constants in the physical universe.  Allow me to explain...


Here, let me show you a few pictures.

What we have here are three different pictures of three different hotel rooms in two different hotel chains.  Notice anything?  If you have your acute observation cap snuggly secure upon your mellon you've probably noticed that they LOOK EXACTLY THE FUCKING SAME.  Brown carpet, comforters with fake throw blankets sown into them, wheeled office chair in a space to small to wheel around, etc.  Sure, sometimes there are two beds and sometimes there's one big bed, but that's pretty much all the variation you're going to find in hotel rooms.  And that's the way hotel chains want it to be.  It's done for consumer reasons.  Something about guests feeling more at home if there is minimal variation in hotel rooms, or some such horse shit.  Regardless, this is how it is all across America.  But wait!  Check this out...

What?!!!  Hardwood floors?  Beds that look like they were made in the past few years?  Real curtains and no wheely chair?  Dear, Aqua Hotel of Miami Beach, you are a renegade among sheep.  Okay, the lack of a pool was a bummer, but thank you for a few nights of variety.

So, I know how much you all love it when I go on long tangents about sound equipment, but I'd like to point out that this is supposed to at least kind of be an audio blog, so I'm going to take this moment to talk gear.  If you want to get a snack this would be a good time to do it, but don't take too long, as this is going to be short.

In brief, I'm not a fan of Audio Technica wireless systems.  They work fine when you have a sharkfin up (it's basically just a funny looking antenna that boosts the signal of a wireless system), but without one they have a range of roughly...oh, let's say...four feet.  If you're lucky.  Complete garbage.  Also, while you're all aware of my intense love of the Sound Devices 788T, let me introduce you to a machine that makes me literally (figuratively) want to kill whoever designed it.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Tascam HS-P82...

The "P" in the name of the recorder stands for "Portable," but if you look closely you may notice that this absolute piece of shit, heavy as fuck, brick of a machine has table feet.  If your product has table feet you probably shouldn't refer to it as being portable (which in the production world means "it goes in a bag and you strap it to yourself as you run around chasing stuff).  To top it off, it constantly drifts timecode, only has one set of balanced LR outs, no dedicated outs, and is fucking touch screen.  TOUCH SCREEN.  Do have any idea how easy that makes it to accidentally arm/disarm/mute a track or, oh I don't know, accidentally turn the machine off mid-recording?!!!!!!  Total garbage.  Tascam should be embarrassed to have this monstrosity in its line.  After being stuck with one of these for over two weeks I seriously hope Tascam goes out of business.

Oh yeah, I lied about the gear part of this being short, btw...

Here it is...

The Sound Devices 664 field mixer/recorder.  It's the balls...but sadly, there are some drawbacks.  There's not a whole lot that I can say about it that hasn't been said in other reviews (that's my nice way of saving all of you that don't care about my gear reviews some time and me the effort), but I can confirm that this type of system is definitely the way forward for ENG/reality/documentary.  I've used it about four times this week and have only run into a couple of trouble spots with its menu interface.  The most annoying one is that I can't seem to assign names to the individual tracks, which the manual says is an easy thing to do.  Also, the scene/shot names don't seem to be taking, which is actually a huge deal.  I was working a pretty hectic shoot, so it could be something as simple as an additional "OK" prompt, or the fact that I changed my mind and switched my recording media at the last second.  I'm sure there's a simple fix for those, even if it's a firmware update.  SUPER HUGE BUMMER is that there is no option in file management for recording to mono.wav files.  This actually sucks super hard in my opinion and I find it oddly sneaky that the generally awesome Sound Devices company just kind of skipped over that little tidbit in all of the product literature.  The simple fact is that most editors are idiots and every time I can record my tracks mono.wav it saves me getting this phone call: "Uh...hey.  It's [Name] from [Show].  So, um...I'm looking at the audio tracks and there's only, like, one of them.  I thought there were, like, 8 or something..."  They're interleaved, bro!!!!  Anyway...

I found a really neat new app for Lectrosonic wireless systems that works as a remote control.  It's super practical, but also hilarious due to the fact that a) it works by sending a tone through the lav mic that the transmitter is attached to, b) that tone sounds like an old dial-up modem, and c) you have to hold your phone, while it's making the dial-up noise, right up to the chest of whomever the wireless system is on...and it fucking freaks people out, man.  Love it!

So...I showed up to a shoot the other day to find this...

Yep.  It earned the nickname Rape Ape over the course of the day simply due to how damn creepy the thing was.

So, that's about it for now.  I'll try, and probably fail, to update this thing more often.  Or whatever.

Peace in the AL East, y'all.

*Wait...that's not my middle name
**Let's just say that it's a DJ battle show

Thursday, January 10, 2013


You know, guys?  Fine.  I'll take some precious time out of my day to upload a couple of clips.  Some of these are kind of old, but whatever.  Now you can stop asking...

The first one is from one of the 10,000 shoots I've done for Comedy Central this year.  No joke, this particular shoot was one of the longest days of my life.  Jesus.  Just watching this 40 second clip makes me retroactively tired...

Next up we have one of several promos I did with John Oliver over the summer.  If you're wondering why I'm just getting around to posting this clip now it's because I'm seriously fucking lazy and tend to forget about things roughly ten minutes after they happen (Not you, Clooney.  I could never forget you).  Also, when you ask a producer about getting clips from them for your reel you may as well be asking them to explain time travel in Russian.  The answer is always the same: ten seconds of a blank stare followed by them turning and walking away.

Side note: after I corrected John about some very deep James Bond trivia he called me "the world's biggest super-nerd," which, coming from him, I think may have been a compliment.  Anyway, here...

And although I can't embed it here for some reason (once again, that lazy thing...), here's the link to Planet X: The Series

As mentioned in previous posts, Planet X is a project that Super Su, Jake Hensberry and I worked on awhile back.  Check it out.  There may be some big news about Planet X coming soon, but until then please enjoy the first five episodes.

Listen, I know you're all going to be super bummed, but I can't seem to find the Jersey Shore stuff I did anywhere.  If you're really that interested, just go to youtube, type in Jersey Shore and watch any of the six thousand clips that pop up.  It's all the same shit anyway.

Moving on, here are two clips from awhile back that I just noticed are available online:

Lance and Reggie:

SNL cast (no, that's not the Amazing Rick Dacey) and Rashida Jones:

Okay, that should do it for now.  As recent shows air I'll keep throwing clips up.  I'd find more now, but I have to run off and shoot a pilot about drunk people.  Seriously.  No joke.  Yeah.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Happy New Year, or whatever.  2012 was pretty rad on the work front and I look forward to several months of vacation to recuperate and spend my hard (easy) earned cash.  Or, I could go in the opposite direction and book 40+ days of the next two months right out of the gate.  Yeah, that sounds better.

So, after a year of being practically enslaved to Viacom, hassling Clooney, spending a shockingly large amount of time in some state called "Oklahoma," and not getting to surf First Point Malibu nearly as much as I would have liked (whatever, it's all about Rincon in the winter months...) I will be pulling up anchor and shipping off to...Miami of all damn places.  For, like, a lot of time.  The great people at BOR are shooting a new show down there and have requested that my ears go along with them.  My ears and I are pretty much inseparable (long story), so I guess I'll be going there, too.  I know almost nothing about Miami, but I have heard that it is warmer than both LA and NYC this time of year, so werd.  I would love to say that I will totally catch up with the friends I have living down there, but this is production, son!  There is no free time.  However, before that happens, I have a few more BET shoots and some weird thing for the Broadway show Annie.  No complaints.

BTW, after futzing with it at both Coffey Sound in LA and Gotham Sound in NYC, I can officially say this: the Sound Devices 664 is seriously dope and I'm totally buying one.  Granted, there's no internal drive or option to record to an external drive, but for ENG, reality and documentary shoots it's totally going to destroy the 788T.  It's half the price, has more recordable tracks (with the CL-6 add-on), powers up much quicker (about 6 seconds vs the 788T's 40 seconds) and, in a pinch, can run off of AA batteries.  The idea is that no matter where in the world you are you can usually find AA batteries, a CF card or an SD card, which makes it a more practical field recorder than the 7 series.  The only drag is that there's a massive wait time on ordering one, but c'est la vie.  The 788T will always dominate narrative and commercial applications, but its days as the go-to field recorder are over.  Regardless, I still stand by my statement in earlier posts that it's quite possibly the greatest machine ever created.  It's just pricey, son!  Anyway, enough tech-nerd talk...

So, Clooney.  Come on, dude.  You totally let me down.  I never got my gift basket.  WTF?  I'm going to remember this, you prick.  On the other hand, you know who's really nice?  Lorenzo Lamas.  I like to refer to him as "Nice Clooney" these days.  Although, at this stage of his career, he should know that lapel mics and leather jackets don't jive with each other.  Anyway, he's on the new season of The Joe Schmo Show, which D-Ray and I did a bit of, so watch it.  Then email Spike TV and tell them, "Gee, that Kenneth Cook sure is a great sound guy.  You should always hire him.  And D-Ray, too, I guess."

Grumpy side-note:  While interviewing Christoph Waltz for the Django Unchained premier I had to chuckle due to how hilariously German he was being.  His whole thing was, "You know, you should not be asking me questions about my character.  It will ruin the narrative experience of the movie."  Pretty typical German answer to, "So, tell us about your character in the film."  However, after seeing it the other day (in a theater that had plush, reclinable seats with butt warmers...really), I totally agree with him.  Now, as many people will tell you, I have no great love for "The Chin" as a director, but he nailed it this time.  Don't read too much about the movie, just go see it.  See, I can be positive when I want to be.  Although, I still maintain that Inglorious Basterds was one of the worst films ever made.  Seriously.  How did you like that?  It played like it was written by a seven year old.

Anyway, time to go see what it is BET wants me for tomorrow.  Or to take a nap.  One or the other.

Enjoy your year.  Who knows when you'll get another one.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Okay, okay.  I'll admit it.  I was wrong.  Apparently, for some reason, this blog didn't continue generating readable material by itself.  I had foolishly been working under the impression that, much like a stolen car after a clean getaway, I just had to give it a few initial shoves and it would pick up self sustaining speed on its way down the hill.  It turns out that it doesn't actually work that way.  Sorry about that.

So, like, hi and all that stuff.  How have you been since we last spoke?  I suppose I have a lot of things to update you about, so why don't I just get to it by starting with a new section to this blog called...


In this section I will discuss interesting tidbits of information I've picked up during shoots and will then put them into one of two categories: Things I'm Glad I Learned or Things I'm Not Glad I Learned.  Let us begin...

Hey, did you know that Hepatitis C is curable?  I didn't until a recent shoot I did for WebMD.  So, yeah.  Not only is it curable, it's easily curable and after you're cured your liver completely heals itself.  Pretty cool, right?  Not that I have ever had any reason to worry about Hep C, but still, that's useful knowledge.  That's a thing I'm glad I learned.

You know what's nowhere near as cool as Hep C being curable?  Bladder cancer.  Or, more specifically, the number one cause of bladder cancer: being a male human.  Yeah, you see, the BOR guys and I do these semi-regular shoots at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where the days basically consist of setting everything up for about three hours, taking an hour for lunch and then being absolutely bombarded with a metric fuckton of depressing as shit statistical information for about two hours.  It's on these shoots that I've learned such uplifting facts as "everyone is going to eventually have skin cancer, so we should probably just get used to the idea," and the above mentioned "really, the best way to avoid bladder cancer is to, like, not be male."  Why the fuck did I need to know that?  It falls directly into the Shit I Can't Do Anything About, But Thanks For Making Me Worry About It Anyway category.  This is a thing I'm not glad I learned.

Did you know that there such a thing as pork pot pie?  I was completely unaware of this member of the pot pie family until I shot at Alla Spinna in Philadelphia (one of my least favorite cities, btw) with Unique Eats about a week ago.  It's really good.  If you get a chance, and you eat the animals, you should try it.  The existence of pork pot pie is a thing I'm glad I learned about.

But hey, don't let a brief stint in the generally jolly world of food shows let you think it's all roses from here on, because it was back to WebMD for me, where I learned this little factoid that's been kicking around the medical profession for quite some time: it's fucking amazing that anyone is born without serious birth defects.  There is so much shit that not only can, but probably should go wrong that it's mind blowing that it doesn't happen more often.  Or, like every time.  As humans we're an absolute mess of genetic information that's basically hanging on for dear life from tumbling into all of us having overly thick tongues, webbed toes, severe immune deficiencies and dying before we're a year old.  So I had to sit there all day with my headphones on listening to charming terms like "not compatible with prolonged life" over and over.  Totally fun.  And once again, there's nothing you can do about it.  But now, if I ever want to have children, I'll have to think about all this crap.  Thanks, doctors.  This is shit I'm not glad I learned.

Note: During the above shoot I kept hearing the term "Fragile X."  Now, while I obviously didn't think it was some rad punk band from the 80's, I assumed that it would still be something cool.  I mean, whatever it is, it's called Fragile X!  That name is seriously dope.  So I finally asked the doctor and yep, you guessed it, Fragile X is an absolutely terrifying genetic disorder that FUCKING GETS EXPONENTIALLY WORSE WITH EACH NEW GENERATION!  THE THING ISN'T ONLY HEREDITARY, IT'S CUMULATIVELY HEREDITARY!   However, on the upside, I learned the term "Vaginal Ultrasound," which isn't a bad thing, but still sounds like a rad punk band from the 80's.  So I guess I broke even there.

Okay, that's enough of T.I.G.I.L vs T.I.N.G.I.L. for now.  Moving on...

So, as you can probably tell from my lack of posts, the last couple of months have been totally bonkers on the work front, which hasn't left me much time for this little pet project.  I've been on a ton of those WebMD shoots, a bunch of Comedy Central stuff (I'll post clips from that after the shows air), some rando EPK shoots, food porn galore and a bunch of other day play stuff I'm not remembering right now.  I have pictures I could upload, but I'd have to go grab my phone to do that and I currently have a cat sleeping on my lap.  I'd hate to disturb her, as she has a very long day of doing nothing in front of her, so she needs her rest.  I'll get them later.

Lastly, I would like to thank George Clooney for the lovely holiday gift baskets he sent to all of the cast and crew of Home, James.  It was a very sweet gesture after the whole Tulsa thing.*

Later, gators.

(*Clooney has yet to send us any holiday gift baskets, but who knows when the next time I update this thing will be, so I wanted to preemptively thank him now.  I mean, I assume he's going to send us gift baskets.  They're only like $30 each, so for a guy as stupidly rich as him it would be a real dick move to not send us all gift baskets.  Seriously, how many of us were there?  15?  16 including the weird ginger kid?  That's, like, $480 total.  Clooney, you seriously can't spend that on us?  You're an asshole.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Christ on a crutch, after, like, a month of my life, Home, James is finally done.  Also amazing is how many commas I just used in a sentence with sixteen words in it.  I've just gotten home and am strangely not tired, considering that several hours ago I could barely keep my eyes open.  Must be the after glow.

The first thing that I would like to point out is that at the exact moment I was officially wrapped out (the last few shots of the film were MOS, which you all know the meaning of by now) it literally, no joke, started to piss rain.  In Los Angeles.  Kind of weird.  I can count on one finger (no, not that one) how many times I've been in LA during a rain storm.  And keep in mind that I actually have lived here once before.  But let me tell you, those crafty locals have learned a thing or two about rain since the other rain storm that has ever happened here, and I have photographic proof of it:

Priorities, man.  Priorities.

Geez, so many things happened today that it's hard to even recall the highlights.  Or is it?  Guess who won the final Golden Driller Award?  You know, the award that was created to thank the local crew in Tulsa for their hard work?  Tulsa, which is not Los Angeles?  And to be honest, why is there even another Golden Driller statue/piggy bank thing in the first place?  Sorry, got side tracked.  Anyway...

I did.  Apparently, the voting process was marred by dissension, bickering and late night texts about how I "won't want it anyway," but in the end, how could they resist?  I mean, seriously, how do I not win awards every day?  And, um, oh yeah.  I was just holding that cigarette for someone else.  Users are losers, you know.

However, the award ceremony wasn't all joy.  Mary Mary Why You Buggin' apparently wasn't pleased with me winning and her...well, losing.

Maybe next film, MMWYB.  Unless I'm also working on it, at which point I will totally mop the floor with you again.

But, to be fair, the real winner was our G&E de jour, Ed.  Ed had only been with us for a few days, but he kicked so much ass that he won the most coveted award of all:  The Singing Frankenstein Doll Award.

What you can't tell from that picture, sadly, is that Ed is somewhere around 11' tall.  That's like Super Su standing on another Super Su's shoulders.  He's taller than a fully extended C stand.

Fun Fact!!!:  Julie bought that doll at Walgreens the night that she drove me to the pharmacy to get my meds for the flesh eating disease I picked up in India, by way of Tulsa.  Which, for those of you who have been wondering, is finally effing gone.  (Yes, I learned my lesson: wash new t-shirts before you wear them.  Got it.)

So, it's too late to write anything super interesting.  I'd love to say that I'm going to sleep for forty hours now, but I have to get up early and return some gear, which means I should probably go to bed.  A full wrap-up is coming.  I promise.  It will be epic.

Stay classy, Internet.

Monday, October 22, 2012

DAY OMEGA:  Home, James wraps tonight

Holy crap, people.  The end is in sight.  At approximately 4am tomorrow morning the Home, James shoot will be over.  Weird, right?  Well, just to keep things normal for our last day it was changed from a half day shoot to an OT shoot at the last possible moment.  So, nothing new there.  But that's not the weirdest part.  The weirdest part is...

...We shot in NYC last night!  It was great to be back for five hours.  And, hey NYC, thanks for the nice weather.  It was a very comfortable 70 degrees with clear skies.  Oh, wait.  That's probably because the NYC we shot in last night was on the corner of Los Feliz and Avocado in a restaurant called Little Dom's.  And while I'm pretty confident that you can find a restaurant in NYC with that name, good luck on finding a Los Feliz or Avocado anything.  Movie magic, folks.  It struck again.

Oh, hey.  Did I mention that I'm officially the most used extra in this movie we're making.  I crunched the numbers and here are all of the characters I've ended up playing:

Guy at counter (my back)
Guy playing shuffle board (right arm)
Guy on date in NYC (possibly my face, more likely the top of my head)
Guy bar tending at the same place I'm supposedly on a date (not sure what the shot was of)
Guy walking down street with guy (shoulders)
Guy leaving a bar with a chick and totally about to get some (my back)

Not bad, right?  Have I mentioned that I occasionally run sound, as well?  Not last night!  Last night was all MOS (we've been over what that means, people) and fancy slow motion, so I got the evening off.  Wrong!  First, we tricked The Amazing Rick Dacey into showing up "to hang out," which is code for, "Dude, we totally forgot to get all of your voice over lines.  Sit in a small room with our sound guy and try to not sound awkward."  Then, the producers were all, like, "Hey, Kenneth.  Why don't you come back to the set and hang out.  It will be fun.  And, um, can you bring The Amazing Rick Dacey with you?"  Code for: we don't have enough extras!!!  But, it was fun and ended up looking like a properly crowded bar, so all's well that ends at 3am.

Oh, and Michael Cera was there.  Or maybe it was that kid from the Facebook movie.  Not sure.  Either way, they forgot their sunglasses...

So putting those on ebay!

Hey, side note:  I have a fairly embarrassing problem that I may need some help with.  I can't, no matter how hard I try, come up with a good nickname for Teresa.  Teresasaurus Rex just isn't cutting it.  I've promised her that I will absolutely have this figured out by the wrap party on Tuesday, so any help would be appreciated.

Lastly, I knew it.  I knew that if I looked hard enough I would find the following in Super Su's apartment:

Okay, time to get ready for what is undoubtably going to be an epic last day of shooting.

Oh, yeah.  If you're worried that this blog will get boring once Home, James wraps, think again.  Guess who just landed a Victoria's Secret shoot in two weeks.  Yerp.  Should be hilarious.