An Interview with Cult of UHF’s Right Reverend Chumley – By Timothy Martinez

 First off, thanks for being here Reverend. How about telling us a bit about yourself first?

Thanks for having me Tim, well I’m 5′ 7" without my hat and about 7′ with it, I enjoy torturing my followers with bad B grade movies and sometimes when I’m feeling down I enjoy a good ole fashioned Creme soda. But seriously, I’m currently a Masters student in communications at East Tennessee State University with and undergraduate degree in Sculpture. I do this vidcast as one of my many hobbies.

How would you describe Cult of UHF to any newcomers?

I, as the head priest of the Cult of UHF, deliver a bi-monthly sermon in honor of UHF through showing bad B rate movies and shorts. Generally you get a few words from me at the beginning of the sermon and at the middle and end of the movie. I’ve fashioned the show after the old UHF shows of old and so far it has pleased the all mighty UHF. In a less insane way of saying it, I play old bad (read good) movies and do some silly skits. Who doesn’t like free movies!

What gave you the idea to create the program? What is your inspiration?

I bought a 5g ipod (video ipod) and noticed that there was no full length content available at the time. Most vidcasts were blog type things or short little 10-min skit shows. I was always a fan of the old UHF movies and Kung Fu shows that used to be on independently owned UHF stations the likes of Doctor Morgus the Magnificent, Elvira Mistress of the Dark, I.M.Death and my personal favorite, a local production in my area, Dungeon Doug and Mohamar Cadaver. Dungeon Doug was just a guy dressed up in a stripped prisoner outfit and Mohamar Cadaver was a skeleton with some obvious bits of string attached. They sat in a dungeon on hay bales and delivered years of entertainment to me and my friends. Alas, most of these gems are gone now. Its been years since there were any independent UHF stations in my area. I saw this as an opportunity to bring back some of the old UHF content that I loved so much. I knew there had to be others like me that wanted the magic back. I took a chance, bought a cheap video camera, borrowed and cajoled audio equipment and set to work. Its been more than worth it as I’ve gotten more than one letter thanking me for giving them back some of the fun of their youth.

How has the response been to the show so far?

I’ve received nothing but great feedback from people and right now we have literally thousands of regular viewers. I’d say its going well. I’d of course love to get more feedback than I do, but then again, I guess everyone doing podcast would like that. There is a popular belief that only 1% of your audience will ever write you or leave voicemails. It seems to be true so far given my subscriptions versus that amount of feedback I get. Again though, its been positive and I always enjoy it when I get a new letter in my inbox.

What do your friends and family think of the whole endeavor?

I doubt any of my family know I do a vidcast or what a vidcast is for that matter, as for my friends, I bounce ideas off of them occasionally and keep them up to date with what’s going on. I’m pretty much a lone wolf on this project although I have a group of friends that I do a lot of other projects with. We usually collaborate on a board we set up to keep the creative juices flowing over at http://www.technobohemia.com I’ve got a gallery of some of my art there and we have some group videos and movies and shorts we’ve done.

Why did you choose to go with a "religious" theme as opposed to the "horror host" approach undertaken by so many others?

I had thought about doing the "horror host" thing, but then I was going to be playing more than just horror, so I thought, maybe mad scientist, but I really didn’t feel like getting 500 beakers and tubes and filling them with bubbly liquids and dry ice a couple times a month (and you cant be a mad scientist without dry ice). I already had the Bishop costume in the closet and figured, its a cult, why not do a pseudo religious theme as well. Being not religious myself, I thought it was funny. It’s never been my intent to portray myself as say a real bishop or any "real" religious figures. I’m just a cult leader who sort of looks like a bishop and talks like a southern baptist.

 How much work is involved in the creation of an average episode?

I try to come up with gags when I can, then it usually takes about 3 hours of shooting stuff, then there’s the editing process which can go as fast as 2 hours on simple stuff like episode 9 or up to 4 or 5 days on hard stuff like episode 6. Then again, I’m no editing genius. Rendering time thanks to QuickTime takes forever, I usually just start that up and go to bed. Really its different for every episode, but usually a full day whether that be in one stretch or over a couple of days. I do all my editing in Adobe Premiere and in AfterEffects. Sometimes I’ll switch over to MovieMaker and whip out some credits and such as MovieMaker has a bunch of great little pre-animated text routines.

Do you do all the work yourself or do you have help?

I do most everything myself. I’ve had a friend of mine come in for some "extra person" shots like in episode 1 and in episode 6, but he just acted a bit for me, although he’s great for bouncing ideas off of as well. I find it rewarding to "lone wolf" the production as I see this project as more of a hobby and less of a business or anything. Of course I wouldn’t object to having some of my friends on the show for some skits or maybe some guest stars from other podcasts or whatnot, but I haven’t been approached yet.

Have you found it easy or difficult locating films and shorts to feature on the program?

There are actually some great resources for locating Public Domain films and shorts. The Internet is a wondrous thing, I’d give more information, but if I told you all my secrets then you wouldn’t need to watch the show for the movies now would ya!

What would you say to someone who thinks you’re wasting your time?

I’d say they are probably right. It’s a hobby, and as hobbies go I believe they are suppose to waste time. I’d probably also tell them that they probably need to find something enjoyable to waste time on as well and to stop worrying what I’m doing.

What is the most challenging aspect to producing the show?

Coming up with the skit ideas is sometimes hard, but I would honestly have to say it is learning Premiere and Aftereffects. The more I learn though the better the show will become. I’m planning a new opening soon, so you’ll get to see what I’ve figured out so far. It will involve a 1/2 scale model I’ve been building for a couple of weeks now. I’d tell you more, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise.

 What is your personal favorite genre of films?

Hmm, personal favorite would be Science Fiction. Horror would come in a close second. I’m just a film junkie. I don’t proclaim to be an expert on who directed what, or how many times an actor starred in blank, but I watch movies, a lot of movies, and most of them bad.

How long do you foresee yourself producing the show?

As long as people want to see it and as long as I can find the time to produce it! Any podcaster will tell you, whether they be audio or video, that you’ll have rough weeks where you really don’t want to do that episode, but you’ll get an email or have an idea and you end up making it anyway. As a current Masters student and having a full time job, I find my time to vidcast where I can, and go from there. Hopefully work and school will continue to let me produce the show. I’ve been going now for around 5 months and it’s become such a part of my life now, I don’t know what I would do if I stopped. Let’s hope we don’t find out!

Are there any goals you have in mind for the show? Anything specific you’d like to try someday?

Goals? hmm, well I guess actually becoming funny wouldn’t hurt, but no real goals, I just enjoy doing the show. I would like to try to get some better sets and new costume, but we’ll see on that.

If someone offered you studio space and a budget, would you consider moving your show to the television airwaves, or would you stay where you are?

I would sell out in a second. In fact I’ve already sold out, I’m just looking for someone to pay me for it. Seriously though, it depends. If they would allow me to do it full time and allow me to continue to do a vidcast on the side, then sure! I can’t see why not.

Is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap up?

2+2=4 Ok, sorry now I’m just being a smart Alec. Thanks for the opportunity to tell some more people about the Cult of UHF Tim. To the readers I would just advise them to go out there and explore the Podcast and Vidcast scene! There are tens of thousands of podcasts out there and I’m positive that you would be interested in more than one. If you don’t know where to start you can install iTunes and go to the podcast section and look around, or if you want a more homespun and community feel you can come over to the PodcastPickle at http://www.podcastpickle.com come to the forums and jump right in! Who knows, maybe you’ll not find what you’re looking for and we’ll have another podcaster in the making! You can visit Reverend Chumley and download his show to your ipod or computer at http://www.cultofuhf.com.