During the first semester of my senior year of high school, I wrote, directed, and starred in a short film called Natie. The video’s about six and a half minutes long, and I tried to make it as close to an episode of FX’s Louie as I could. A typical episode of Louie tends to consist of a couple extended vignettes, and I wanted Natie to mirror that. Unfortunately, I had no budget, no actors, a terrible camera, and a classroom in the basement of my school. Still, I tried my hardest to make a loving tribute to one of my favorite shows. Let’s take this beat by beat.
0:00-0:52 This is, of course, the Louie theme song “Brother Louie,” except I replaced the word “Louie” with “Natie.” Where Louie‘s intro follows him walking to the Comedy Cellar in New York to do a stand-up set, mine follows me walking from my classroom to the vending machine to get some Famous Amos cookies, then back down to the classroom to do a stand-up set.
0:53-2:14 For this portion of the video, I wanted to emulate Louie’s stand-up style (right down to his body language, like the way he sometimes reaches his hand back to touch the wall at The Comedy Cellar). Louie typically opens with a comedy routine, like Seinfeld, so I knew Natie needed to as well. The audience consists of kids from my media class, and I just separated the audio of their laughter from an earlier clip and replayed it after each joke. Upon rewatching, I just realized the audio is distorted—for some reason it only comes out of the left side, but goes back to normal after this segment. Oh well.
2:15-2:57 Louie has two daughters and often walks them to school on the show. To replicate this, I just added two cartoon children under each of my arms and walked them to “class,” which was actually just a back entrance to the school. I find this scene to be incredibly uncomfortable, and I wish I could’ve cut it. The dialogue is based off a series of tweets Louie had posted ranting about public school education, but it didn’t really translate to the screen very well.
2:58-3:21 This scene exists purely to move the story forward. I would’ve preferred to have it right after the stand-up scene, but I had to add something between the two. If I could go back, I’d probably rework this scene and the previous one.
3:22-6:11 Clearly, this portion is mostly improv. I encouraged the kid behind the camera to just keep rolling while I rambled on and on and on. The bit with the sensitive microphone came from listening to a podcast where the host made a comment to the guest about touching the microphone—I thought it’d be funny to do a variation on that for this, especially considering the “microphone stand” is just three rolls of duct tape. Then, the punchline: Natie’s actually a terrible stand-up comedian.
6:12-6:28 I knew the ending needed a kicker, a sort of “last line” that would let the viewers in on the joke. Natie’s jokes are so beyond bad, and I wanted Brendan’s character to be the one to bring the video back into the real world.