Brains behind the brilliance: ‘We Are Pirates’

Student-created video showcasing Whitworth athletics becomes viral hit

During Midnight Madness, five Whitworth students premiered a music video that has become a viral hit both inside and outside the Whitworth community.

Junior Cody DeJardin, junior Peter Delap, senior Shannon Winant, junior Jesse Salzwedel and senior Drew Goranson created the video which featured a majority of Whitworth’s athletic teams. Almost all of the teams participated in the making of the video.

“They wanted to contribute, but they also wanted to see themselves in the video so it was cool that they wanted to participate and were participating willingly,” Salzwedel said.

They started with a goal of promoting Whitworth athletics and uniting the fan base behind a common Pirate identity for all Whitworth sports.

“The goal was to unite all of Whitworth, all of students, faculty, staff, alumni, the greater community,” Winant said. “Unite them toward the athletic program like letting them know that athletes are real people, too; they’re not separate. We’re Whitworth Pirates too. Everybody’s a Pirate, not just athletes.”

Head men’s basketball coach Matt Logie saw the video and was impressed.

“I thought that was awesome,” Logie said. “The guys did a great job putting that video and song together and to have that much involvement, from student athletes and cheerleaders and students all the way up to President Taylor, is just a neat way to showcase the university.”

The video has been shared by many students and faculty on social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.

“So many people have shared it, and so many people are all ‘I love my Pirates, this is the best school in the world, my school has swag,’” Winant said.

DeJardin said the video took a lot of time and effort to make but things seemed to work out well.

“Everything fell in place while making it,” DeJardin said. “All the teams that we had texted to meet at a certain time came and then they left and the new team came, it was just like they rotated super perfectly.”

Premiering the video after releasing a teaser earlier in the week was a big deal to these guys.

“I’ll be honest; I peed a little when it started,” Delap said jokingly.

However, the men were more concerned about the logistics of playing the video than the nerves of showing their project to the Whitworth community.

“I wasn’t nervous because we weren’t performing live I think people knew that this isn’t what we want to do for a career, so they aren’t judging us by our talent and our rapping ability, but in reality they’re like we’re just a couple of kids just trying to do something fun but also promote our school’s athletics,” Salzwedel said.

“It was very creative and it really showed off great Whitworth spirit,” freshman Justin Botejue said.

The creators have enjoyed some recognition on campus as a result of the video.

“I’ve got like four more Facebook friends,” DeJardin said.

The video has over 11,000 hits on YouTube and was also featured on a local news station.

For those interested, the video can be viewed on YouTube by searching “Whitworth We are Pirates” and clicking on the first result.

“We made the video, but we had nothing to do with how much it took off,” Delap said. “It’s all the fans, everybody at Whitworth had a part of this. All of Whitworth community made this popular. It wasn’t anything that we did.”

Whitney Carter Staff Writer

Contact Whitney Carter at wcarter16@my.whitworth.edu.

Homegrown web series returns

Fan-supported Kickstarter campaign funds Spokane company’s sci-fi comedy

Armed with just a green screen and some spray-painted nerf guns, a group of five Eastern Washington University graduates embarked on a journey, a journey to create a sci-fi comedy web series on a budget of $200.

Now, after winning multiple awards and national acclaim for their first season, the intrepid crew of the S. S. StarSpanner is ready to embark on its second season of the web series, Transolar Galactica.

Transolar Galactica (TSG) follows the exploits of the arrogant Captain Elliot “Remmington Trigger” Trig, and his doggedly faithful crew as they bungle their way across the universe with complete disregard for the laws — laws of physics, that is. Transolar Galactica blends sci-fi standards such as Star Trek, Firefly, and of course, Battlestar Galactica. The series parodies the sometimes self-indulgent and sometimes incoherent science fiction genre.

TSG boasts national acclaim, including screenings at San Diego Comic-Con, Emerald City Comic-Con, and the Penny Arcade Expo. TSG was an official selection at the New Media Film Festival in the online competition, and took home four awards at the 2012 Los Angeles Web Series Festival for special effects, ensemble cast, cinematography and best series.

While the series has achieved great success, the team of filmmakers started out as fellow classmates working on overlapping film projects at Eastern Washington University’s film program.

“We just started making movies together,” said Clancy Bundy, one of the show’s co-creators. “We had a good time and we made some fun projects. After college, we all decided to stick around, look for jobs locally. So to stay sharp as filmmakers and stay connected as friends, we decided to do this skit show.”

Kinetic Energy, the production company the group formed to film their sketches, had doubts about getting their project off the ground. After all, Bundy said, there were thousands of other people on the internet with the same aspirations towards internet fame.

"Everyone wants to make a Mitchell and Webb skit show. Everybody wants to make the next ‘SNL’-web-thing, ‘Whitest Kids U Know’-type-thing,” Bundy said.

Despite a lack of funding, Kinetic Energy was able to produce the first episode of Transolar Galactica. The backdrop for the first episode was a collapsible green screen, and improvised desk lamps were used for lighting.

“We made the first one, and we loved it and our friends enjoyed it, and so we decided to make a second one,” Bundy said.

The second episode received positive comments on YouTube. By the third one, internet trolls were criticising the series. When the trolls struck, the Kinetic Energy team knew they had found something successful, Bundy said. If strangers hated it, it must have been good.

By the fifth episode, Bundy said, the crew was beginning to seriously consider the possibility of a second season. By that time, a studio space had been found for the film’s production, and the crew had found various freelance filmmaking jobs in the Spokane area to help pay the bills.

At around the same time, the TSG crew was approached by Zombie Orpheus Entertainment (ZOE), a film production company operating under a simple credo: “Fan Supported, Creator Distributed.” After ZOE asked TSG for a full season’s release schedule, TSG promised another five episodes. After TSG was hosted on ZOE’s YouTube channel, TSG reached a much wider audience.

For the second season, the crew decided better production quality was a must-have, including better special effects, improved equipment, and a dedicated team of set designers and camera crew. For this new season, $30,000 was set as the minimum goal.

Following the Zombie Orpheus Creed, TSG asked the fans for support in the form of a Kickstarter campaign. It was an all or nothing gamble — if they were even $1 short of the $30,000 goal, they wouldn’t receive a single cent.

It was a photo finish. After 30 days of fundraising, the final tally was in on Oct. 28. A total of $30,885 in cash proved just how much the fans supported the homebrewed space series.

Over the next three months, the Transolar Galactica team will be filming the next season of the show and editing it in post-production. Now with enough fan love, and enough rocket fuel, TSG will return this April.

Lucas Thayer Staff Writer

Contact Lucas Thayer at lthayer12@my.whitworth.edu.

Take a break, watch some videos

Here are a few recommended time-wasters It is just about halfway through the semester and perhaps your feet are starting to drag, but not for long. Take a break and see if these entertaining YouTube videos pump you up.

POPULAR MUSIC, UNUSUAL INSTRUMENTATION

“Somebody That I Used to Know” — Walk off the Earth The Canadian indie band, Walk off the Earth, gets creative with a cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Every member of the band uses the same guitar simultaneously to create different sounds. The band has gained increasing popularity without the help of record labels or management by making low-budget music covers, as well as originals. Clearly, simplicity has joined forces with creativity to produce an epic, out-of-the-box performance.

“Payphone” — Avery ft. Max Schneider YouTube artist Avery Iannitelli and Max Schneider sing a cover of Maroon 5’s “Payphone,” but this isn’t just any cover; all of the background instrumentals are done on iPhone instrument apps. Come on people, real instruments are so last year. Oh, technology, what would we do without you?

POLITICAL PARODIES

Epic Rap Battles of History — Obama vs. Romney It’s the political season and what better way to brush off the heat of the upcoming election than with an “Epic Rap Battle.” If you’re having trouble deciding who is actually ahead in the political rat race, check out this video, and with a few laughs, perhaps it’ll help.

A Bad Lip Reading — “Eye of the Sparrow” Presidential Debate How many of you are frustrated with the presidential debates? Interruptions galore, zero respect and failure to actually answer any of the questions. Well, here’s a bad lip reading of what the presidential candidates could have been saying.

NOT-SO-TIME-WASTING

Daredevil falls from space

In case you haven’t heard yet, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner free-fell from a capsule 24 miles above the New Mexico desert. Guys, this is four times higher than single passenger jets fly. Wow. He traveled at 833 mph (I guess that’s kind of fast) and succeeded in shattering the sound barrier, something no one has ever done without a jet or rocket. Take a look at this video to witness his amazing feat.

“Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus” — poet Jefferson Bethke Religion. Jesus. Think about those two words: whether they belong together, or whether you consider society to have thrown them around, confused the terms and mistaken the rules and regulations of religion for the love of Jesus Christ. Jefferson Bethke, a Christian poet, uses spoken word to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion. What do you think?

EVERYONE NEEDS A LITTLE LAUGHTER

Who You Gonna Call? — Improv Everywhere Halloween is coming up and the ghouls are lurking. This improv troupe brought the movie “Ghostbusters” to life in the reading room of the New York public library as those studying and reading looked on in wonder. Check out Improv Everywhere’s YouTube channel to see their latest ventures. They collectively dived into the ocean in their finest suits and gowns.

Scary Wake Up Pranks College isn’t complete without pranking your roommates. Want some ideas? Check out these scary (hilarious) wake up pranks that leave the peaceful sleeper utterly flabbergasted. And you, well, gasping for air with a newly formed six-pack from the never-ending howls of laughter.

Christina Spencer Staff Writer

Contact Christina Spencer cspencer15@my.whitworth.edu