That was fast. Within milliseconds of Instagram releasing a video editing tool to rival Vine’s, David Koechner (upcoming “Anchorman 2,” “The Office”) and Harland Williams (“Half Baked,” “Dumb & Dumber”) have already created all but the last installment of “Steady and Shakes,” the first buddy cop parody and “Instamovie” to premiere on the social network.
Koechner left for an RV trip with his family before they could release the second half, which comes out in August, leaving his co-star to answer the phone.
Williams, who plays Shakes, describes his character as a “nervous cat; he flinches at every little sound,” he said in a phone interview. “If he’s asked to do anything — putting mustard on a hot dog or any type of task that involves focus and concentration — it gets to him and he starts shaking.”
Written by Williams, Koechner, Joe Homokay, and James Penland, the story follows Shakes and his partner Steady, who are about to bust a house full of elderly perps when they realize they’ve forgotten their guns.
“We have yet to see Shakes try to hold a gun,” said Williams. “I don’t want to know where the bullet ends up if he ever has to shoot.”
Koechner and his producing partner Steve Barnett shot the entire film with their iPhones, one short take at a time in the actor’s yard, using their friends, family members, and neighbors as supporting characters. All of the sound effects were created with sounds played from nearby phones and laptops.
They had planned to wrap the whole thing up in about in hour, but Williams said it took them more like eight hours. “It was weird because we thought it was point and shoot, but you realize when you’re shooting a movie that whether it’s three seconds or three hours you always have to deal with the logistics,” he said.
The choice to put the videos on Instagram over Vine had to do with the perfect length of the medium, said Williams. Instagram videos have more than double the time limit of Vines, but are still shorter than most YouTube videos.
“We’re known as 15-Second Darlings,” Williams explained. In fact, viewers can easily binge-watch all 8 videos in one sitting. “The problem with binge-watching on Netflix is that you lose three days of your life,” he added. “With us, you could get to a red light, watch our whole movie, and by the time you look up, your light should just about be turning green.”
Crossing over to Instagram from the world of film is new territory for the comedian, who said he still doesn’t know how to shoot a smartphone video, since his character in this film was too shaky to be trusted with the camera.
But viewers are increasingly spending more time online and less time at the theater. Said Williams, “It feels like a grenade went off and the entertainment business is flying everywhere.”
Where is the industry going? Said Williams, “I think it’s probably going to go right to ‘Steady and Shakes.'”