Feb 21, 2019

“Fu” — official music video

The Music of Hello Uncle Foreigner

Subscribe to Western Toilet on YouTube, or give Hello Uncle Foreigner a listen on SoundCloud.

The footage in this video comes from Jiangyang Park, which is about half a kilometer from our apartment. People really do all kinds of things in the park, from martial arts and dancing to painting calligraphy and hanging out with their birds. There’s a reservoir down the hill that I like to go running around.

Feb 20, 2019

Getting ready for Chinese New Year 2019

It’s the Year of the Pig!

Here comes the Year of the Pig.

Though we appreciate the time off, we’re not big into celebrating Chinese New Year … mostly because we don’t have a family in China to go see. But one aspect of the holiday that I really appreciate is the little door guardians. I think the pigs this year are very cute. I bought them at the supermarket!

Feb 19, 2019

Podcast: Why aren’t you live anymore?

Because the internet is weird

The new-improved live-to-tape stream

Peter and I really enjoy talking about the work that we do in these kind of free-form sessions, but live streaming from China has proven to be a problem. Maybe one or two weeks we’ll get lucky, and be able to maintain a decent upload speed, but we’ve had so many connectivity issues that we decided were not fixable at present. (The actual solution is leaving China, and we don’t want to do that.)

But, as I said, we like the discussion, and feel like it’s something that might appeal to others. So for this week, we did everything the same, except, instead of streaming live, we just made a live recording. This way we still get the immediate feel of an un-edited discussion, without freezing every two minutes. We’re pretty happy with how it turned out.

Feb 17, 2019

You have got to live somewhere

We chose China

The place you live is always somewhere.

We continue to consider the fact that we are not leaving China, for now. It’s a tricky business, choosing where to live. Every society has its flaws. But I think that puts on us the responsibility to to the good we can, where we can. When we can. How we can … How do I get out of this loop?!

Feb 16, 2019

Podcast: Not just a talking head

The struggle to make a better vlog

Part one of the discussion

Part two of the discussion

This episode of the live stream/podcast is in two parts, because we had trouble maintaining a live connection to YouTube. In fact, this is the last episode that we did live, because streaming from China is too difficult.

But, we still had a rousing discussion of our creative process; We address keywording and why it’s so necessary to be “findable” on YouTube, as well as our early efforts to expand our vlogs into something beyond just a talking head.

Feb 15, 2019

Number 8 will always surprise you

Who’s leaving China?

Look out for eight …

We have many reasons for not leaving China. I’m sure you have many reasons for living where you live.

Feb 14, 2019

ACT-ing! How do you do it?

A live chat look at our process

“Uncle Sez” is our weekly live stream where we talk about the behind-the-scenes of making a China vlog.

Did you know Hello Uncle Foreigner hosts a chat show, taping live at Whoop Wu studios? We do, every week. And in this episode, we lay out a lot of the changes that have happened over the past two months. Also, there’s a discussion of what it’s like to act when you are not an actor — stay tuned to the second half for that.

But here’s a brief summary of the expansion of the Uncle Foreigner empire: ’Round about December, feelings came to a head that our primary YouTube channel, Hello Uncle Foreigner just wasn’t being seen. We were following all the SEO recommendations, and our content was GOOD! (We entertained the possibility that we weren’t as good as we thought that we were, but it still nagged that we weren’t getting negative responses. We were just getting no responses.)

Then, Peter spun off the music videos into Western Toilet, for organization’s sake. And then Western Toilet started to get views and subscribers with no promotion whatsoever. Which confirmed the theory that we weren’t doing something wrong, Hello Uncle Foreigner was just getting buried.

So … Hello Foreigner was born! We’re still in the middle of moving (and anticipate it will be fully migrated around June), but Hello Foreigner is the new home of our China vlog on YouTube. We are reposting the old videos that — by the numbers — almost no one watched the first time around. And we are putting up new vlog installments as we go; you can recognize the brand new content because it features a giraffe suit.

But, we didn’t want to shut the old Hello Uncle Foreigner down. We had just gotten a custom URL for giraffe’s sake! So old HUF is now the home of our weekly live-taped chat show where Peter and I discuss our lives as creators and China dwellers. It’s a real-time snapshot of our creative process.

To sum up the summary:

  • Hello Foreigner is the home of the China vlog.
    • Legacy reposting will continue through June.
    • New posts featuring a giraffe suit go up weekly.
  • Western Toilet hosts our all-original music videos.
  • Hello Uncle Foreigner is the place to catch our weekly “podcast” discussion of the work we do.

And if that’s all too much to keep track of, just bookmark HelloUncleForeigner.com — it’ll all be here on the site!

Feb 13, 2019

And then now ...

The Music of Hello Uncle Foreigner

More music is at Western Toilet

“And then now” is one of my favorite segments to make. For each one, I spend about two or three days walking around the neighborhood and setting the camera down for a few minutes to capture the mundane action of people living their lives. (Does it feel a little creepy? Sometimes!) Peter then edits the longer footage into 5 second clips of the most interesting moments and puts them all together. I think it really captures the feeling of living our lives, without imposing any kind of narrative. Existentialism!

Feb 12, 2019

New China vlog channel, same China vlog fun

We cyber-moved on YouTube

The giraffe premieres!

Here’s the news: We moved our YouTube channel. I’ll get into why at a later date, but for now, update your bookmarks to Hello Foreigner. It’s the same great China vlogging, without the bias towards Uncles!

Dec 20, 2018

Getting around problems

Who dares interrupt the Cane?!

Sometimes your own two feet need a little extra help. Well, never fear. The Cane is here!

The shoot of our fiction piece was fairly painless this week … because we did a ton of organization pre-production. First pass was some pretty tight blocking of the action, and then second, we made a pretty detailed shot list. We did a run-through a few times the day of, and made sure we were totally happy with how our shots were laid out. And then … ACTION?

In the edit, we had to cut a couple of lines that I loved from an early draft of the script, but they just didn’t fit. It continues to be true that what you leave out of your work can be as important as what you put into it. If you’re curious, the lines were a reference to the fact that astronauts have to run on treadmills to maintain bone density. I am fascinated by this idea, but it didn’t work within the flow of our final script.