culture

Dec 14, 2018

Instagram always: All I want for Christmas is selfies!

Ready for Christmas



View this post on Instagram


Emily and Oliver wish you #merrychristmas

A post shared by the existential China vlog (@uncle_foreigner) on

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 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 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 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.

Nov 24, 2018

The music of Uncle Foreigner: Yield

Trafficking in sounds

We’re all going somewhere, and we need something to listen to on the way! Here’s the sounds of “Yield when we die.”

Nov 23, 2018

Bits of Hits #02: Return of the Bits

The Music of Hello Uncle Foreigner

Listen to all the sounds of Uncle Foreigner on SoundCloud.

Music from the Hello Uncle Foreigner short films “True Electric Power” and “Cultivated Progress.”

Nov 21, 2018

We’ve all got a phone

A playlist for the modern person (that’s you!)

It’s all about cellphones in this playlist.

We lose our phones, we drop our phones, we order food on our phones. There’s nothing we can’t do! Modern storytelling still has trouble working our cellphones naturally into the narrative, but in real life, we’ve incorporated them into all aspects. Even our YouTube videos.

Nov 20, 2018

The Commons

The Music of Hello Uncle Foreigner

This piece came together out of a few happenstances: “The tragedy of the commons, I want to do something with that” is actually something I said to Peter while writing the various dance pieces that we are incorporating into Uncle’s Shorts. “What if you just say exactly that?” Peter suggested. It worked better than anywhere that phrase took me, so …

And then, when it came time to film me doing the Time Step, the camera (our Eagle) glitched out. (It’s a lovable quirk of that camera that in any given session, it’s started glitching out the first file. Yay for knock-offs!) I did some work to recover the file, and it looked pretty cool.

But, kind of too long for a dance piece, which are segments that we are keeping to about 30 seconds or so. But, as a music video …

And that’s how we got to “The Commons.”