80s, 90s, Articles, Celebrities, Movies — June 18, 2018 8:43 pm

Weird Paul: World Premiere of Will Work for Views

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If there were ever a question whether there’s a little Weird Paul in all of us, then Will Work for Views: The Lo-Fi Life of Weird Paul definitively answers that as a resounding “oh yeah… we’re all a little weird”.


Will Work For Views (Trailer #1) from Interesting Human on Vimeo.

The documentary, which was backed on Kickstarter last year (and you can read more about it in our interview with Weird Paul here), has its world premiere at the Harris Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA on June 23, 2018.

Weird Paul proves himself to be relatable in ways you may not expect. His artist’s struggle is shown in the modern day, functioning world from working a job to pursue your passion (yes, your job doesn’t need to be your passion, how liberating!) to simply making one nostalgic for their own home videos. One of the big themes in this film is sacrifice. At one point, a key player in the film hopes the documentary will help convey the lifestyle artists choose to get their work out to the world. There are a few touching scenes where Paul has to choose between following his passion and daily distraction. Faced with these challenges again and again, it seems that the biggest regret in the name of sacrifice he has is a period where he was trying to be someone he’s not. Spoken like a true artist.

Weird Paul’s diligence and perseverance in filling thousands of VHS tapes full of his life has captured some amazing things. A short section features Weird Paul telling the audience it’s his birthday, year after year, as we see him age in the short clips. Nowadays it might be more common to see parents doing this for their kids on Facebook, but in the 80s? Not a chance.

It was also interesting to see the behind-the-scenes of Weird Paul’s YouTube videos, the work and preparation behind each one.

Before video, Weird Paul would record onto audio tapes. I’m sure we’ve all done this as kids, pretending to have your own radio show, writing and performing your own parody songs and skits, but Weird Paul stuck with all of this, creating a prolific and incomparable body of work. He also meticulously archived all of his work throughout his entire life. Shelves in the house line the wall, filled with 30 year old VHS tapes. When he refers to himself as “the original vlogger”, he means it and has the proof to back up the claim!

“The hardest part of post-production is that we had over 900 home videos submitted to us by Paul, and that wasn’t even half of his entire collection! It was tedious work going through them (the videos weren’t all labeled) and identifying those moments that would best be able to tell his story. This was a constant journey that happened over about 14 months, as we would travel to Pittsburgh to continue shooting new material while editing back in L.A. at the same time,” Will Work for Views’ Producer Adam Brewer recalled.

What did his parents think of all this? Don’t worry, the documentary sits down with his family for some more inside information from their perspective. As Weird Paul’s mom says, “You only get one shot in your lifetime, might as well do something you enjoy doing”.

Despite the intentionally Lo-Fi nature of Weird Paul’s work, directors Joseph Litzinger and Eric Michael Schrader deliver a documentary that displays top-notch film making technique. When starting our preview screening, we were expecting an entire movie shot on VHS. Instead, the directors chose to film their portions in high definition. This was more than a technical decision, it turned out to actually create a solid boundary between what content was from Weird Paul directly and what was new in telling his story. The editing really shines as the story of three decades of video content comes together seamlessly to succinctly tell a well structured view into the subject matter. Will Work For Views could have easily been for a small audience of dedicated hardcore lo-fi fans, but Litzinger and Schrader instead created a movie that is accessible to everyone. That’s the secret to the movie magic of this feature. A hundred years from now, people will be studying the birth of social media and this film will live on as a historical piece that bridges the gap between early VHS home video and our YouTube driven world of today.

Weird Paul has and continues to face challenges in his life and career. Choosing to follow one’s passion and bliss in the face of societal demands can be a challenge. Spending time doing chores and up-keeping a house is all time spent away from creating and producing content. The documentary showcases Weird Paul’s struggle with this dilemma.

While Weird, Paul is incredibly relatable and down-to-earth. He replies to comments online, interacts with his fans at shows, makes himself accessible, and doesn’t take anything for granted. The movie always does a great job depicting the other side of YouTube comments, with a few clips of Weird Paul reading some mean comments posted on his videos. Not only are the comments unnecessary, they are a distraction in what could be the creation of more art – something a lot of YouTubers must face. Weird Paul is just a guy a doing what he loves, why does anyone need to post negative reactions to his hair cut? The irony is, of course, that there’s more truth in Weird Paul’s off beat songs than any foul mouthed YouTube comment thrown his way.

At his core, Weird Paul wants to entertain and make a difference in people’s lives, no matter how small. As silly as some of Weird Paul’s videos and songs are, he’s there as a distraction, as a way to improve the audience’s life little by little. By the end of the movie, as an audience member, you’ll find yourself co-celebrating in Weird Paul’s successes. There’s build-up to a full fledged rock performance of his hit “Peanut Butter Recall” and the payoff does not disappoint. Not only does the song bring down the house and score points with a new crowd, but the journey is made all worthwhile by Weird Paul’s positive takeaways from the experience.

So far, there has only been one family and friends-style screening of Will Work for Views, but the film is already winning people over. “What we can say is that people’s reactions to the movie, even those that didn’t know who Paul was, suddenly became instant Weird Paul fans. They were engaging just like he would have wanted. The overall response was, ‘Wow, he’s been doing this longer than anyone, and we can’t imagine how he feels waiting for the overnight success that other YouTubers have seen over the years.’ They all really admired the passion that he had in holding on to everything and using YouTube as a platform to repackage and show his work to an audience that didn’t exist in the 80s,” said Brewer.

This also means that Weird Paul himself has not yet watched the documentary.

“We thought it would be really cool to get his honest reaction during the upcoming world premiere in Pittsburgh, especially since many of his fans will be in attendance for the Q&A panel that we’re having following the screening,” Brewer explained.

Overall, Will Work for Views is a wonderful tribute to one weird dude and the weird dudes that live in all of us. The world needs to see this film. And buy some more Weird Paul records like we did immediately after watching the film. Seriously, we can’t stop singing some of those songs out loud at random.

Right now there are no other screening scheduled, but the crew is looking at other theatrical screening possibilities in select cities. If you’re not in Pittsburgh, have no fear—Brewer expects that Will Work for Views will be available through home streaming services later this year.

Be sure to check out Weird Paul on YouTube and subscribe so you don’t miss any of his hilarious music videos, nostalgic vlogs, or entertaining reviews!

If you’d like to see more from Interesting Human Media, visit their website here. Interesting Human Media is currently in post-production for their second feature, Zulu Summer, the story of a small-town radio DJ in Butte, Montana that receives a mysterious e-mail from an African prince and forges an international alliance that brings their two communities together.

 

Be sure to check out the world premiere of Will Work for Views: The Lo-Fi Life of Weird Paul on June 23 if you happen to be in the Pittsburgh, PA area and stay tuned for more information on the documentary!

 

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