Island Wars, meet McGrimmy’s

Haven’t posted anything on any of my webspaces much since Lost ended. :-( Sorry for the lapse in typing, but Sam the Awesome Blogging Man is back in action, and this time with a new-found fervor and a love for truth and justice.

So let’s talk film.

Don’t say it! No… NO… don’t! Stop it! I know you were about to say it. Don’t even think it! Don’t ask about when Island Wars is coming out. It was a piece of crap test film Will and I started making after ninth grade. It was a terrible idea that we ran with once people accidentally found out about it and loved the car chase. And the school newspaper coverage didn’t help either. Basically Will and I went to go finish the movie yesterday. Yes, that’s right, finish it. So we went into Pinnacle (the worst editing program in history) and began compiling the edited scenes into one huge movie file. But we ran into a problem once we realized whole segments of the movie were missing. In fact entire finished segments of the movie (including the car chase scene) are now missing. In the time it would take to find everything and edit it again we could easily start a better film project, something real. For Will and I, this was the last straw, and the final message from God that this project just isn’t meant to be.

So that’s what we’re going to do. I may look for footage on and off when I’m bored, but we’re not finishing the terribleness that is Island Wars. Don’t be surprised if in a few years I do find all the footage and begin posting segments on YouTube, though.

We are looking forward to producing the new post-apocalyptic drama next Fall. But for now, we are going to start producing the McGrimmy’s as our main thing. Except we are completely restarting and revamping the series to engage a broader audience. Mel Kobran is also gonna help us out with filming, so that should make things work about 2.7 billion times more smoothly. We’ll start releasing them to the internets before Summer ends. In fact, we actually have a mini sort-of production team including more than just me and Will to complete these two projects. Whether we’ll keep the name Umbrellaman Studios remains to be seen.

Happy Trails,


A short Island Wars clip…

Yeah, it’s been a pretty lazy start to the summer so far. However I do have quite a bit I want to get done. For one, we’re FINALLY going to finish Island Wars. And don’t you dare say “yeah, that’s what you said last summer” unless you want to receive a virtual punch to the groin right this second, because we ARE going to finish it. For those of you who don’t know what Island Wars is, go check out the blog at and watch the two trailers and the few clips that are up on YouTube. It’s a home movie project three years in the making. Though we view it more as a “practice run” or a “crash course” in film making. As such, there are some extremely well-produced segments along side some completely terrible ones. In fact, Will and I wish someone *hint hint* wouldn’t have told everyone so that we could have kept it as a practice round and moved on.

Enough with the excuses, the point is we are finishing it and showing it this summer. Anyone who follows either the Island Wars or Umbrellaman Studios blog has probably seen the screenshots taken from a quick graphics test I made, and I figured I’d give you just a short little clip of it. And yes, I mean short. So enjoy the 15 second graphics test with nonsensical sound effects:

Island Wars Space Test #3 from Sam Rodgers on Vimeo.

This week’s Dark Territory LOST Podcast will be up either later today or early tomorrow. More later…

Happy Trails and Namaste,

Just a comment… let's talk Iceland (4/23/2010)

More specifically, let’s talk the volcano eruption in Iceland. I assume you’ve all heard of it, it’s caused mayhem for airlines and people waiting to go anywhere, though they did start up air travel again. In fact, due to the volcano, Jim Groom won’t even be able to complete his much-anticipated plans to take an epic journey to Svalbard, Norway and fight polar bears!

What some of you may not know is the name of the volcano (or rather glacier above the volcano, in this case). I want you all to stop reading this post, find a piece of paper, and try to write down (with correct spelling!) the name. … Alright, are you done? Good. Look back up at your screen now. If you wrote “Eyjafjallajökull,” you’re correct! Yeah, it’s a mouth-full. But now we come to the bigger problem: how do you pronounce it? Look at it and try it. Eyjafjallajökull. In fact, it would be great if you all could try it, record it, and leave a link in the comments so I can laugh at you! :-) And yes, thanks to YouTube I know how to spell and pronounce it! It only took my and my roommate 30 minutes the other night!

Most newscasters don’t even attempt pronouncing it, simply calling it “that volcano,” “the volcano in iceland,” or something of the sort. But when they do try, it’s pretty funny! Interestingly, even the Wikipedia pronunciation at the beginning of this first video is party wrong.

Or you could just watch these two ladies fail.

It’s an Icelandic word that literally means “island (eyja) mountain (fjall) glacier (jökull)”. You language-buffs may like to know that fjall is where the English word fell comes from, as in a mountain or hill. Yeah, leave it to them Vikings to make things unnecessarily hard. And just cause they can. The closest way to pronounce it I can think of using random English words is to say “heya fee-yacht-lie you-gut-th” (and say fee-yacht quickly). There’s a good example here. Or you could listen to this awesome Icelandic musician explain it live on tv!

If you were wondering: yes, that song will get stuck in your head. Enjoy! and I hope you’ve learned a little something about Iceland, your lack of language-skills, and the world at large!

Happy Trails and Namaste,

WOAH! Cool Videos!

So I have been finding a bunch of cool videos recently, and figured I’d share ’em around. If you’ve already seen them, then good for you, never hurt to watch again!

First up is a music video from a Russian singer made in the 80s. For the last year or so it’s been gaining a following of it’s own in the internet meme-sphere, and it’s starting to become the new sort of rickroll, and in my opinion it’s even better:

Wanna “trololo” somebody? Just link them to this site.

This second video I found on a graphics website I frequent and I just thought it was extremely cool. What if all the pixelated arcade video games we know and love were real? Find out:

Uploaded by onemoreprod. – Discover more animation and arts videos.

Until next time,


My latest video for the “Samuel Michaels” digital story is still processing on YouTube, so I thought I’d take the extra time and write a post on some cool information on recent happenings. Now onto… Chatroulette!

I’m sure nearly every one of you who is reading this has heard of the little internet phenomenon known as “Chatroulette“. For those of you who don’t, Chatroulette is basically a website where you video chat with random people throughout the world. The site pairs you with someone, then you click “Next” to move on once you are either bored, confused, or (most likely) grossed out by the other person. It’s very popular among some colleges, 16 year old girls, Germans, and perverts. Most of you have also probably heard the stereotype that Chatroulette is filled with… well… genitalia. I’ve heard many people say it, my friend yesterday told me the site disturbed her, and Jim Groom even commented one class that he was amazed at how many naked people there are on the site. To be honest, I didn’t really believe it. I thought it was just another over generalization about a popular internet site. So of course I had to see for myself!

I can now confirm after using it myself very briefly that this stereotype is absolutely 100% true. Beyond that, I would strongly suggest that you don’t go check it out for yourself, unless you enjoy male genitalia being stuffed in your face literally every third click. Please take our and the rest of the internets’ word on this one. However, I seem to have done the impossible. I made a friend on Chatroulette. Yes. That’s right. I created a legitimate relationship with a normal human being on Chatroulette. In between all the awkward pervert-looking people, overly-contrasted faces in dark rooms, and guys “laying” on their beds, I ran into a really nice girl from Germany. And after a very lengthy translator-assisted conversation even agreed to friend eachother on Facebook. I feel like this should go down as a major turning point in the history of mankind or something.

This is proof that there is a small hope for decency on these mostly creeper-ridden chat websites that are becoming so popular. And I can’t help but hope that interactions such as these are what the sites were originally intended to create. We don’t live in a world where friendships are limited by how far we can walk in a day, we live in the modern age of internet and social media. Despite this hope, it seems as though the perverts will always overrun these sites. It’s because of them that you won’t ever see my face pop up on your Chatroulette screen again. Maybe if stronger blocking/reporting was added to the site. But I’m not gonna hold my breath.

Have any of you ever actually made a friend on Chatroulette or any site like it? I want to know! Leave a comment…

Happy Trails,


I should probably explain the stereotypes I mentioned earlier. Those being that Chatroulette is popular among 16 year old girls, Germans, and perverts. I say that because consistently I ran into 16 year old girls who said they lived Germany. I don’t know if I just happened to be placed on a server with a bunch of Germans or if Germans just love Chatroulette, but that’s what happened. Also every single German I saw was eating M&Ms. Dunno if it has any significance, but maybe we should add it to The Stereotype List. Oh and why did I say perverts? Well that one should be obvious.

E Market Street – The Google Street View Story

Well it’s finally uploaded! What, you ask? Well my latest assignment for Digital Storytelling, of course! What else could it possibly be?

Sorry for the delay, I have been having some major issues uploading files online, especially to YouTube. It’s the fault of the internet in our dorm, though, not Google. The files take forever to upload, and the internet always cuts out before it completes entirely. But enough complaining…

The assignment deals with a new and interesting type of storytelling, one which actually takes the listener to the location of the story to hear it. This story is told using the incredibly cool and possibly outstandingly invasive Google Maps feature known as “street view”. We had to take the viewer on a tour of some place in Google Street View and tell a story about that place. I chose to talk about East Market Street in my hometown of Leesburg, VA. Enjoy listening about some of the cool things that exist on this street! Watch it below, comment, rate, etc. por favor!

Happy Trails,