By Mark Frauenfelder at 11:00 am Tue, Mar 25, 2008
Museum of Hoaxes wonders whether Fred and Sharon's movie production business is legitimate or some kind of publicity stunt. They aren't sure. What do you think?
well, considering that you have to pay to see more of their videos on the website, my vote is for fake.
it’s too perfectly bad.
anyone try calling them?
What next? Are they going to start gunning for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, too? Don’t kill the magic.
Oh, I’ve been checking out their site for a couple of weeks – and suggested it to boingboing over a week ago – I am totally convinced they are real! It is too perfectly awful to be executed by pros.
I really believe a video move will improve my life!
The sheer extensiveness of their YouTube offerings make me think it’s the real deal.
Well, over at Metafilter, one of the members interviewed the couple, so they’re most likely real.
I was going to suggest this too but decided against it. I think they’re real. A further sign of the collapse of our civilization.
to me, this is clearly a performance and not “real”… anyone able to set up a green-screen and make it work well (there isn’t much in the way of bleed-through) would be able to fix the editing glitches (multiple false-starts and cut-offs)… also, the background images are obviously chosen to be ironic commentary…
highly entertaining, but the production quality is too good (and too bad) to be accidental.
I’m in Vancouver and I work with a guy from Kelowna who turned me onto this who F&S stuff. He claims that they’re real but to make sure, he’s making some calls to his folks in Kelowna to do some detective work. We’ll let you know when we’ve got some answers…
Totally performance art, which is honestly a little disappointing.
Fake. Fake. Fake. The letterboxing suggests they shot & composited the video in 16:9.
I find it hard to believe they’re working in widescreen format when they can’t get a decent chroma key or edit without jump cuts.
the mefi interview (mentioned above, edited by Fred, and available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWhlelFPRro ) seems to suggest that this is genuine cable access variety weird. Also, newer camcorders can shoot in 16:9… why do you have to be a pro to use a weird aspect ratio?
I say ‘real.’ I would also kindly request calling off detective services and all sorts of stalkery you folks may have planned and leave these poor people alone in their kooky little shell.
ooops. link was above (missed it). sorry, fungible.
I was a little skeptical when I first saw it. It seemed a bit too pathetic to be real, but at the same time, it’s really hard to pull off creating something that poorly without it being obvious that it’s intentionally bad. I thought, much like people who think they’re graphic designers because they have all of the latest graphic design programs, this was a retired couple looking to keep themselves busy, so they got a camcorder and thought that suddenly they were filmmakers.
You definitely don’t have to be a pro to shoot widescreen. But I do think it takes a certain level of knowledge to edit it and upload it to YouTube without the video looking out of wack. If they are able to figure aspect ratio out, why can’t they figure out how to get a decent key? etc.
And some of the above posters are correct, it takes effort to look *that* bad.
I don’t know…This kinda smells like paperrad. If it’s legit…it’s beyond wonderful. If it’s a come-on it’s still great!
This is clearly an act. The interview – which they have on their site as well – makes it quite clear. Fred even says he hopes that his next movie will be funny.
heh funny, to me (and to the interviewer according to his comments on the mefi thread) the interview seals the deal that these are just two retirees doing this for fun and not out of some deep need to add ‘ironic humor’ to the internet.
and of course the interview is on their site. it’s edited by Fred. why does saying that he hopes his movie will be funny tell you this is an elaborate ruse? why is it hard to accept this is genuine?
PLEASE — Let’s not call this “performance art”, even if it is done for effect, rather than as a genuine advertisement. As a work of “art”, it is utterly worthless; devoid of content. At most, it’s parody. Art, it’s not.
thats dangerous water you’re wading in there Bricology…
screw bricology, if it’s faked (though I am slightly more inclined to believing it’s real), it’s tremendously difficult. Even the best of them (see also Jeff K) are no where near as good as that. Being as entertaining as they are means some amazing and very unique acting skills.
mmmmkphh, yass, is it,could it possible, could perhaps, mmmmm, a more harmonious phraseology as it were,mmmmmm could be found, mmm than “screw”? Yass?
Given sharon’s level of enthusiasm i wonder who’d hire them. Hoax, and a bad!
@ InverseSquare — I never said it was a genuine commercial; it could very well be “faked”, as you put it. That would make it parody. It would NOT make it “art”. I’m beyond sick of people’s lazy thinking leading them to claim that something they can’t get a handle on must be “art”.
@ Schickm — “Dangerous water”? Good thing I’m qualified to offer an informed opinion, being that I’m an artist, and one with a pretty comprehensive grasp of the history of, and current streams in, art. I’m well-versed in performance art. This ain’t it. It’s a genuine commercial or it’s goofing on them.
Wow, It’s the 21st century version of SCTV’s “Tex & Edna Boil’s Organ Emporium”
my vote is for performance art
i thought it was real, until i saw that interview the other day. their mannerisms and personality are a stark contrast to the movies – they actually have a personality in real life.
btw, i saw an SNL repeat the other night that looked like it was a parody of Fred & Sharon.
Oh wow. It’s too funny to be real, and too bad as well.
Why all the analysis? Can’t we just appreciate it for what it is, regardless of whether it’s “legit” or just performance art? In any case, it’s brilliantly bad entertainment!
Oh, it’s for real alright.
She put on her best dress and got her hair did for the occasion.
Bricology.. that came across a little snooty.
Art is the intention, not the vehicle.
I’m not suggesting this be considered art or not, but if you had absolutely no background on the piece, you may not be able to so boldly judge it.
And does something really have to fit snugly into the “history of, and current streams in, art” for you to consider it?
@BRICOLOGY: If it’s fake and therefore performance art, the content is the production style, the choice of editing, their demeanor and all the little things which we laugh at. They’re playing a small town, amateur video/animation production business. In performance art they’re called characters, or whatever, right? Also, you don’t get to say what is or is not art just because you make it. That’s the dangerous water right there.
I’d say it’s real. It’s easily explainable at every level
If it is fake, it’s a wonder they had the self-consciousness to pull this off.
inb4 Comedy: Art or Not?
Can genuine artlessness be art? hmmmm…. I watched the interview and I’m not convinced they are anything less than genuine.
I’m leaning towards fake. The background scene of glove-wearing (they certainly looked rubber to me at first glance) while talking about proms and dances seems to give it away. And I really do find it hard to believe that the woman, Sharon?, can’t get more excited than that. She’s not even trying.
Then again, truth really is stranger than fiction. Part of me wants it to be fake, because that way the intention, to me, is significantly more brilliant.
This is similar to Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job with less pot-head freakouts – the cuts are consistently ‘bad’, the performances are stilted, and the backgrounds and animations are only vaguely related to the narrative.
Being good at being bad is far more difficult than being bad at being good.
I blogged this very same story last week check it out:
I’m not sure myself. Some peeps did some digging and found that Fred Spencer shares his name with a puppeteer from Team America World Police. I doubt there is a connection… But you never know.
Okay, I just got an email from a musician I contacted who was credited on one of their videos (the tribute to students and troops). According to him:
“Fred and Sharon are not actors, they run a small baking business in Peachland and sell their breads at the local farmers markets. The movies are consistent with their characters, and they are serious about it. I do see why people would wonder though. They do make one of the greatest sandwich breads ever, and are really nice people.”
Peachland is in the Kelowna/Vernon area of British Columbia.
If you watch one of Fred’s videos where he makes a video comment about a farmer’s market in Boulder Colorado, you can see just how sincere and earnest he is.
I am pretty sure they are for real because I know them from the Kelowna Farmers’ Market. I am a regular customer of theirs. Their personalities at the market are exactly the same as in those videos. Sharon is just as deadpan and monotone in person as in the videos. They are nice people though. I think they originally set out to make some extra income doing movies until people started making nasty comments on youtube. I believe they decided at that point that they would scrap the idea. The irony is now that they are “youtube famous” they will probably be paid to do their videos now. Aparently, Jimmy Kimmel wants them. Too funny.
I believe it’s real. Anyone can upload a video to youtube, including little kids who do it every day. I believe there is some recent awareness on their part because the “relationship advice” videos seem to be tongue in cheek. But I think that these folks are honest. I discovered them when you could still watch the movies on their website. I believe they changed it to paid because so many people were watching and laughing, it was chewing up their bandwidth and they had to start charging for it. I’m sure that’s why they figured out how to use youtube – but again it’s not difficult.
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