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College Football Eye Test Explained

Here’s our comedy video, guest starring Aaron Smith, on the so called “eye test” in college football ahead of the Big Ten Championship match up with Iowa and Michigan State. Pay close attention or you might miss my favorite Nebraska joke.

The script was written by myself & Nick Renkoski and edited by Bryan Johnson.

Nebraska Nice Guy replies to Iowa Nice Guy

Someone calling himself “Nebraska Nice Guy” mailed a VHS tape to SoundOff. “Nebraska Nice Guy” wrote in a handwritten letter, with many misspellings and grammatical errors, that this is his answer to Iowa Nice Guy and the disrespect shown Big Red.

There was no return address on the manila envelope, which came with postage due.

Nebraska Insults from Iowa Nice Guy: Greatest Hits, Vol 1

For years, Iowa Nice Guy has been insulting the worst state in the Union with ease and joy. In anticipation of the Black Friday match up between the undefeated Hawkeyes and the unintelligent Bugeaters, here is Volume One of the Iowa Nice Guy’s greatest Nebraska insults.

Tell your kids about the SEC Myth

Our latest comedy video, is a reply to “Joe Talks to his Kids about an Undefeated Iowa.”

Now with over 500,000 views on YouTube, it is one of our most successful videos having reached Sportscenter, ESPN.com, USA Today, the front page of Reddit, and many other radio, TV, and internet sites across the country.

RVTV 2015

The WHO-HD tradition of traveling around the state of Iowa the week of the CyHawk game continued this year and I was lucky enough to be invited along.

Besides assisting on camera for the live shots during the newscast, I was also tasked with finding a quirky story from each town we stopped.

Here are my stories: Greenfield’s County Seat War, Who is Humboldt named for?, Webster City is unexpected, and History of CyHawk Game.

I’m most proud of my piece from my hometown:

A Solider’s Play

Along side a engaging ensemble, it is a joy to play (the beardless) Captain Charles Taylor in Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, “A Soldier’s Play,” which the Des Moines Register and Cityview recommend you see.

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This has been a fun process that has resulted in an highly entertaining 2 hours.

Come on out to see this thrilling murder mystery set on an army base in World War II!

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Co-Hosting SoundOff

When I was a teenager watching WHO-TV 13 Sports SoundOff, it never crossed my mind that one day Keith Murphy would ask me to sub in as co-host for him.

And in case you are wondering, reading a teleprompter live on television is harder than you might think.

Thank you Keith Murphy, John Sears, and everyone at WHO-TV for this opportunity.

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Love Letters to Fred Hoiberg Part 3

With the news that Fred Hoiberg is leaving Iowa State to take his dream job as head coach of the Chicago Bulls, we thought it would make sense for the Iowa Nice Guy to send him off in style and give the city of Chicago a little insight into what type of man they had in their head coach.

The Chicago Sun-Times and WGN-TV took our video and passed it along to Chicago.

The Life of a Document

Iowa Filmmakers teamed up with Workiva to create this comedy video about version control.

I had fun playing all these different versions of “Doc.”

Benny Babcock’s #BetYaHouse

Bet Ya House has been a segment I’ve been doing for the Murph & Andy Radio Show on Friday’s since the fall that satirizes the ridiculousness of many sports betting “experts.” Well, it has become such a popular segment, Keith Murphy and I thought it would work well as a video segment on SoundOFF.

So we created the over the top character of Benny Babcock to help the world beat Vegas and win an extra house…or at least start a new catch phase: BET YA HOUSE!

Rave Reviews for “MACBETH”

The reviews are in for Goldfinch Theater Company’s production of Macbeth!

Thank you to cast and crew for all the hard work on this show.

For more info, check out the Goldfinch Theater Company’s Facebook page.

Des Moines Register: ‘Macbeth’ packs a dramatic punch

CityView: Iowa Nice in a cage match

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Iowa Nice Guy’s bid for Governor

Today, our team released the Iowa Nice Guy’s announcement video for his mock run at the governorship of Iowa. Though, the Iowa Nice Guy is not a real person, the issue of low voter turnout is a real problem.

Get out and vote!

#EpicIowaRoadTrip

The Epic Iowa Road Trip criss-crossed Iowa over 9 days.

We stopped at over 60 destinations and the video playlist below proves how much fun we had.

New Video: Hey Cancer

When my father, Terry “Zip” Siepker, lost his second battle with leukemia, I wanted to find a unique, humorous way to honor him.

“Hey Cancer” is that way.

We have all had to fight cancer directly or indirectly, my hope is that ‘Hey Cancer’ makes us all laugh and reminds us that human ingenuity in tandem with human resolve will eventually win this fight permanently.

I encourage any cancer charities to use ‘Hey Cancer’ on their websites, social media, or for any fund raising means. Only when we all pool our resources will we conquer cancer.

Thank you to all those who helped make this video (that would have made my dad laugh).

NEW VIDEO: Fred Hoiberg makes a cameo

At this moment, there is no Iowan who is more beloved than Iowa State Men’s Basketball Coach Fred Hoiberg.

Fred was kind of enough to make a cameo in our lastest video “Love Letters to Fred Hoiberg Part 2.”

The Des Moines Register called Fred’s cameo “hilarious.”

A big thank you to Fred and his lovely wife, Carol, for allowing us to come to their home to film our silly video. Hoiberg

In case you have missed the orginial “Love Letters” video, here it is:

Wrestling Nice

Wrestling Nice is the fifth original format Iowa Nice Guy video. It follows Iowa Nice, Hawkeye Nice, Cyclone Nice, and Justice Nice.

There is no doubt that wrestling should be in the Olympics. I am confident that on September 8th, wrestling will be voted back into the Olympics. But we are not there yet.

It is important we make sure the earlier vote, that removed Wrestling from the games, is the best thing to happen to wrestling in a long time.

I think it is already happening: The governing bodies have, and continue to, improve the rules and the reach of the sport. Wrestling is a fundamental sport to our species. It’s the second competition you do as a child after you learn to run. Lucky for me, I was the oldest and my brother never stood a chance.

Thank you to the dozens of people who have made Wrestling Nice. And even more to the dozens who have contributed (almost always as volunteers) to all our other videos as we continue to figure out how to use this medium to deliver a message and tell a story.

Where Are We Now?

Since my last blog entry there has been a up tick in progress that our film company, Iowa Filmmakers, has made. With the release of Hawkeye Nice and Cyclone Nice, ESPN’s Dari Nowkhah and Baron Miller took note and asked us to produce original content twice a week for the ESPNU show College Football Daily. You can view all these here.

This ESPN development resulted in not only national exposure but local interest as well. The CBS affiliates in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids each did stories on the progress we have been making as a film company and what our plans are for the future.

So what are our plans for the future?

1) We have released our new web series, a campy comedy called “Animal Justice League.” You can watch it now by clicking HERE. We are already in the pre-production stage for episode two.

2) Though we are committed to staying in Iowa, we are looking to get representation to enlarge the reach of Iowa Filmmakers through the country and the world. More on this to come soon.

3) Our TV pilot, Marooned, is still the flagship project of Iowa Filmmakers. We are pursuing a distribution model that allows us to produce the entirety of season one.

4) Exciting news to announce that company member and my good friend, Brendan Dunphy, has signed deals to host a variety of science based television shows with both Discover Science and the BBC.

You can check out the first of his Discover Science show, “Insects and the City” on December 8th. In this episode, Brendan travels down to New Orleans to search through the city for the creepiest, deadliest insects around.

Brendan’s BBC specials will be airing shortly as well: One about insect dissection and the other about the ant world.

5) Emmy nominated Iowa Outdoors has now received funding for a THIRD SEASON. I am very excited for this one, it will be our biggest and best yet.

This last month of 2012 will propel us into an even more eventful 2013. Thank you to all those that support three guys with a dream to make dreams come true in Iowa.

9/10/12 – Frequently Asked Questions

Are you ever doing a sequel to Iowa Nice?

Since the moment Iowa Nice exploded onto the scene, people have wanted its follow up. Paul and I are very hesitant to pull out the ‘Iowa Nice Guy’ character again unless the script, cause, and timing are all good enough. We have written a handful of sequels, but when it comes to deciding to produce, we conclude that these three elements don’t meet the Iowa Nice standard.

However, I would recommend you stay tuned, for we are very close.

What’s going on with Valentine Road?

This project is at the top of our list to produce. However, while filming Valentine Road: Prologue last year it was evident that VR would require a much larger sum of money to complete than originally thought due to the time period the story takes place in. We made the difficult yet necessary decision to put this project on hold.

Our path to completing VR is through producing other great stories (like Marooned) that prove to “the industry” we are worth investing in.

In the meantime, we will be releasing Valentine Road: Prologue via our YouTube Channel in the coming weeks.

What’s the deal with Marooned and when can I see it?

The very funny pilot episode is completed and we are in the process of finding a “buyer” for the series. Because of the big names and production studios we are courting, we are currently keeping the wide exposure to the completed episode to a minimum. Your next opportunity to see the completed pilot is at the Landlock Film Festival in Iowa City.

As soon as we close the deal on producing the first season, you all will be the first to know!

Will there be a third season on Iowa Outdoors?

The hope is YES, but in this industry nothing is for certain until a contract is signed, which at this point has not occurred.  I have more confidence in the future of show since our EMMY nomination last week (we find out if we take home the EMMY on September 29th). This should help the show continue into 2013 and beyond.

What other projects are you working on?

1)      There is BIG career changing news coming very soon about one of the members of Iowa Filmmakers, though I have no comment on which one of the three of us it is at this time. :)

2)      In late September,  we will be releasing our new campy web series called Animal Justice League about two unorthodox hero’s who rescue adorable animals from great villainous overlords.

3)      In early October, I am expecting to release my first single. It’s a cheesy love song I wrote called Colby Jack. A video for the song will follow sometime after that.

4)      We are currently developing a new history series that will be focusing on Iowa’s great stories. There are very few details available at this point  but I can say that I am very excited to explore history and be able to retell it our unique Iowa Filmmakers’ way.

5)      My TEDxDesMoines Talk rekindled my love for public speaking. I have already booked a couple speeches and have more on the horizon. While my schedule currently won’t allow for acting or directing in the theater, this will hopefully hold me over until I can return to the stage.

DMSC’s Fire House #1 Bid

The choice is ours, Des Moines. We can choose to allow the artistic spring to flow freely through the coming decades or to dam up the colorful waves, pushing back years of hard work by so many.

Recent decisions give me hope that we are living in Des Moines during a time that will be smiled upon by the generations to come as the “Des Moines Renaissance,” when the people of this city warmly welcomed music, theater, film, and art throughout its renovated downtown.

This is a golden age in Des Moines where corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and artists work together toward the self-fulfilling prophecy of progression through innovation.

The dawn of this golden age has crept over the horizon with the creation of artistic lofts in the Crane Building, the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, and the Simon Estes Riverfront Amphitheater, just to name a few. However a key phase is needed to continue the rise.

That phase is the selling of Fire House #1 to the Des Moines Social Club.

The DMSC is exactly what this city needs to usher in this new age. They can bridge the divide between artistic and non-artistic people. They can create a space where ideas can explode out of talent. They can facilitate a network that can be woven into the fabric of this city.

I can testify, in fact, that this has already materialized: My growth as an artist and the success it has garnered is connected to the supportive nature of the DMSC’s idea stoking. And the DMSC has managed to do this for me and many others with modest resources and even more modest property.

Imagining what the DMSC could foster with more resources and a home to call their own makes me grin wider than the I-235 expansion.

If we want Des Moines to proudly be the place where we live, work, and play then we all have a responsibility to usher in a fully fledged renaissance. Many steps have come before, many steps will come after, but the next step is supporting the Des Moines Social Club in acquiring Fire House #1 in the same way they have supported all of our artistic adventures for the past three years.

The simplest way to support is to sign this petition. Just click right here!

Find out more about the Des Moines Social Club and more ways to help visit there website: http://desmoinessocialclub.org/

The Martin McDonagh Project

As of March 15, 2012, Mooncoin Entertainment became the ONLY theater company to produce the entirety of the Martin McDonagh theatrical canon.

Looking back over the last three years proves again that when you add old fashion hard work, a commitment to excellence, and the volunteerism inherit in Iowans you will achieve a grand goal.

[This truth is what Paul D. Benedict, Brendan Dunphy, and I have founded Iowa Filmmakers on, but that will be a blog for another day.]

Quick back story: Brendan Dunphy fell in love with the works of Martin McDonagh and decided that he wanted to produce every single one of McDonagh’s plays under the moniker of Mooncoin Entertainment (named after the small Irish village his grandfather hailed from in County Kilkenny.) To do this, he would have to buck the advice of many who said he NEEDS to move to LA if he wants to pursue an acting career.

When most people first heard Brendan’s idea to produce all seven plays, they thought: “Brendan, you are crazy.” This reaction is certainly understandable. Knowing Brendan from those early acting days in Pearson Hall on the campus of Iowa State, however, I had a slightly different thought:  “Yep, he’s crazy, but he will do it.”

My advice to him at the time was that if he goes through with the project, he should do whatever he can to get the attention of Mr. McDonagh to let him know that The Martin McDonagh Project exists.

He did much more. He became friends with Mr. McDonagh or ‘Martin’ as he calls him.

That is the philosophy of Brendan Dunphy: To set a goal, not to reach it, but to surpass it.

Check out the Des Moines Register article on Brendan and the project in review by clicking here.

And be sure not to tell Brendan I had nice things to say about him.

For my part, The Martin McDonagh Project has brought many cherished experiences:

A Skull in Connemara (Thomas Hanlon)– Joy of mistakes, the journey of overcoming those mistakes, and whacking Brendan over the head with a mallet.

The Pillowman (Michal) Performing for Martin McDonagh, finding the sympathy in a murderer, and my first onstage death.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore – My first directing project, bloody mess, and feeling of family.
A Behanding of Spokane – Encore directing project, rotting suitcases, and noticing the void of Frank’s laugh.
The Cripple of Inishmaan (Doctor) – Bittersweetness, nostalgia, and thankfulness.

When the curtain falls on The Martin McDonagh Project on March 25th, I will enjoy reminiscing of skulls, dirt, exploding tables, mallets, shotguns, eye injuries, rocking chairs, burns, pillows, crosses, green pigs, tears, guns, pulleys, cats, hands, handcuffs, naughty words, eggs, pampooties, and buckets upon buckets of blood.

Thanks to the dozens of talented human beings and two cats who brought this project to life.

And thank you to my dear friend Brendan Dunphy for having the tenacity to bring us all together.