Comedy writer Alex Hyner (@alexhyner) is a trend setter on Cameo. Alex is the first creator to create hilarious and seamless "long take" videos. With Cameo’s six second clip restrictions, using the long take technique is no easy feat. Alex gives us special tips to creating hilarious, long take videos with Cameo.
I’ve been making short films since I was nine years old. After receiving a B.F.A. in filmmaking, I moved to Brooklyn where I worked as a camera assistant for a number of years. I now live in LA where I spend my days toiling away as a writer.
Writing can be difficult for a number of reasons. One in particular is that you don’t always get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. So often you pour energy and creativity into a blank sheet of paper only to shove it inside your desk with the others. Making Cameos has been a wonderful form of expression and I get to see reactions from people right away. And lucky for me, the community is nothing but constructive and supportive.
1. Be original. Watch and admire what others are doing and then as fast as possible sprint in the other direction.
2. Play with expectations. We already know how “My Morning Routine” ends so why not: Oh, a Cameo about making coffee? Turns out the coffee is for THE CAPTIVE I KEEP LOCKED IN MY BASEMENT. Or, whatever. Some sort of curveball.
3. Rehearse. And shoot your rehearsals. And then do as many takes as your body will allow. And then one by one whittle it down to your favorite takes.
4. Like tunneling out of prison, creating a Cameo to appear as one long shot takes pressure and time. When shooting, the camera has to be fixed in place. I don’t have a tripod so I balance the phone against a stack of books. Pick books you like, too. That seems to help.
I shoot outside of the application so I can record all two minutes at once. Then I treat the editing process like an iPhone game. There isn’t a timecode so here’s how I get everything as precise as possible. I load the entire clip in six second intervals. Usually around 4-5 seconds I find where to make a cut by looking for subtle changes in between frames so I can make it look seamless. For instance, I often cut on blinks. At the end of a clip I pick a frame where my eye has just shut. In the following clip I try to find the very next frame which is my eye just starting to open again. It can be frustrating, but so can Angry Birds.
5. Most importantly, make yourself laugh and have fun. What’s the point if you’re not having fun?