Dec 10, 2018

What are you doing?!

And can I have some? Featuring the return of Panda Rat

Our first vlog without a vlog.

Peter’s been composing original soundtracks for Uncle’s Shorts for a while now, but this week is features our first song with vocals! And she is a sassy girl.

The episode is an attempt to provoke the question “What are you doing?!” It’s a question we get a lot, so we figured, why not aim for it. Also, we expand our world of characters a little bit, bringing back Panda Rat, and introducing ceiling rat ghost and thieving wontons. The wontons are from a nearby dumpling place, and they are absolutely delicious: fresh-rolled and the soup is seasoned just-so. Just, watch your knives when you order. They have started going missing …

Watch the video. It’ll make sense.

Dec 5, 2018

A jazzy walk around the “Nabe”

The Music of Hello Uncle Foreigner

Enjoy the soundtrack from Uncle’s Shorts #40.

Every apartment building has a rooftop. Otherwise the rain would get in. We finally ventured up to ours in the filming for last week’s video. And it’s just a roof, with people’s laundry hanging, some fruits and vegetables drying in the sun, a small garden — typical for this part of China. But the view is spectacular!

Placed where we are on the Luzhou peninsula, we can see the Tuo river to our north and the Chang river to our south — which you may know as the mighty, mighty Yangtze. Whatever you call it, it’s something to look at.

Dec 3, 2018

Tweet of last week: The only news that matters

We made 100, baby!

It’s a small number, but a huge milestone for us! Thank you to every single one of our first 100 YouTube subscribers! You’ll be able to say you knew us when …

Dec 3, 2018

Walking around our Chinese neighborhood

Uncle’s Shorts #40

Our fortieth Uncle’s Short!

Tune in for the tour of our favorite neighborhood places, and stick around for friendly interviews about what makes a good hometown. City or coutryside? I’m city all the way.

Dec 1, 2018

Instagram always: View from the roof

Whatever the weather

Nov 29, 2018

The music of Uncle Foreigner: Museums

Sounds to look at art by

keeping things a e s t h e t i c

Nov 28, 2018

Playlist: You can’t make me use a driving cliche

Ok ... take a virtual ride with us

We drive, get driven, watch others drive. There’s a bus, a boat, a tuk tuk, a cable car. All kinds of vehicle stuff. In China.

These days, I mostly walk from place to place. So I thought the time was right for a vehicle-themed playlist!

As of this post’s publication, our YouTube channel has 95 subscribers. Five more spots to an even century! Will you #jointhe100?

Nov 27, 2018

An oboe for “Museums”

The Music of Hello Uncle Foreigner

Making last week’s episode, “Cultivated progress”, was a lot of fun. We love talking about, thinking about, and making art! So here’s some extra art: the episode’s soundtrack.

Nov 26, 2018

Tweet of last week: Glass bridges and farmers’ markets

Of course we read the Shanghaiist

Nov 25, 2018

You’re eating fat birds

Thanksgiving in China, behind-the-scenes

Presenting our very special Thanksgiving episode! Which features very little of the real, traditional American Thanksgiving!

Our friends were so great to help us out filming this. You may not be able to tell from the video, but none of them are professional actors. They’re just our friends ;)

Also, I am notorious for overestimating people’s level of English reading. Back when I was writing lessons for middle schoolers, I’d have to revise them at least three times to make them simpler. The same happened here, but I was able to do some quick rewrites on the fly to find everyone’s level. And, as you can see in “Behind the ‘Facts,’” they practiced like mad to get it perfect!

When working with friends and amateurs, Peter and I try to be as organized as possible, so we’re not wasting anyone’s donated time. We also try to keep an eye on the fun level in the room. Originally in our script, we had a few more sequences to film, but by the time we go all the individual lines filmed, we decided to call it a wrap. Everyone had worked really hard, but they were still enjoying the evening. I felt like we could have pushed it and gotten the extra jokes, but the mood would have turned from “friendship through a difficult challenge!” to “this slog is never-ending and we’re not friends after tonight.”

Something that always impresses our non-filmmaking friends is our slate. It’s such an iconic signifier of the movie business, that people are really impressed to see one in action. The real reasons we use one are two-fold. Firstly, when you’ve got a lot of video files to sort through and upload, it’s helpful to have a literal signpost stating “Scene 1, shot C, take 3.” This way, you don’t have to scrub through the entire file to figure out what’s going on in a given shot. Secondly, the clap gives you a spike in the sound that is incredibly helpful in matching video with the recorded audio. Our software is OK at doing that automatically, but I have had to do it by hand more than a few times.

So another Thanksgiving has come and gone. For the past few years, our actual Thanksgiving celebration has been going to Peter’s Tex Mex for the expat turkey extravaganza, and this year was no different. Except, this year they comped us our meal! Thanks, Peter’s! Luzhou is always welcoming us, all over town.