Dennis Spielman

The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Brett James - Photo By Dennis Spielman

Half a Day with the Halfrican American

Uncovering Oklahoma spends half a day with comedian, Brett James, a.k.a. the Halfrican American as he celebrates his retirement from the Air Force and as he transitions into a full-time comedian.

As you can tell, this week’s video is different with the “day in the life” documentary style. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it. Depending on feedback, I may do more of these in the future. I’ve asked people on the site if I did, who would they want me to feature next.

I’ve wanted to feature Brett as a guest for some time, back when I did Uncovering Oklahoma as a talk show format. However, when I changed the format, I wasn’t sure how to feature him. Fast forward to several months later. I was at an art barter show at Current Studio where people trade goods or services in exchange for art. My original offer was to follow the artist around for a day to make a documentary/mockumentary about them. On the two art pieces I bid on, my offer wasn’t taken, but I still liked the idea. When I was brainstorming who to follow, I thought of Brett.

Originally, I had planned to spend all of Wednesday with Brett, but some issues came up for him, and I joked with him, “I think I’m going to call this ‘Half a Day with the Halfrican American.'” He liked the title, and we stuck with it.

Thank you again for your patience on the release of this week’s video! We wanted to make sure we used the best clips for it. As you’ll learn from watching the video, Brett is a new father of two twins, and so it took him a while to review his comedy set to pick the best segment to showcase.


For more Uncovering Oklahoma videos, check out the Uncovering Oklahoma YouTube Channel. If you want to help support the series, become patron or a sponsor.

2016-08-18 The Screen Door-02

Kendall’s Restaurant and The Screen Door


Starting on Main Street in Downtown Noble, Kendall’s is a family owned restaurant with home-style cooking using recipes passed down from their family. What they are also known for is their Chicken Fry Challenge. Owners Kimberly Lock and Dee Downer talk about the restaurant, advice for those thinking about taking on the food challenge, their Oklahoma pop-culture walls, and how you’ll feel like family when visiting.

Then on Main Street in Downtown Norman is the new coffee shop and bistro, The Screen Door. Bridgett Hefner talks about The Screen Door’s cool steam-punk atmosphere, the fun events, and their efforts to support the community.

Movie Still from Bleak Future

Jabee and Empire Slice House


This week’s episode of Uncovering Oklahoma starts off with an interview with hip-hop artist, Jabee. Jabee discusses his new album, Black Future, and the challenges he faced when making the album, what inspires him, where he go with a time machine, and this one time he went into the future. The short film with Jabee has parodies and easter eggs referencing to Back to the Future, Doctor Who, and The Terminator. For more Behind the Scenes on this short, read this post.

One of Jabee’s favorite places to eat is Empire Slice House in Oklahoma City’s Plaza District. Owner, Rachel Cope talks about their New York style pizza, their unique atmosphere, and what makes their pizza great. During the interview, the sunlight changed on me, washing the interview out a bit, but I managed to color correct it to save it.


Want to watch only the short film, Bleak Future, starring Jabee? I’ve included it above. The story follows Jabee as encounters a time traveler who shows him a dangerous future he must prevent. The stand-alone short features its own special credits while the interview video has the bloopers at the end.

2016-08-08 Jabee Back to the Future Behind the Scenes-04

Behind the Scenes: Jabee in Back to the Future

Yesterday, I finally got to do my short comedy video and interview with local hip-hop artist, Jabee Williams. We had actually planned to do this a few months ago, but the release of the album got pushed back and so we pushed back our filming. His album, Black Future, will be released Friday, August 12th.

The premise of the video follows Jabee being picked up by a time traveler to show him a dangerous future he must prevent. It has easter eggs and parodies of other time traveling stories like Back to the Future, Doctor Who, and Terminator.

Selfie with Jabee Williams and  Adam Lee
Selfie with Jabee Williams and Adam Lee
To find the DeLorean, I reached out to some people and Rob Crissinger got me in touch with Adam Lee. Adam was wonderful to work with. He was excited about the project and promoting the local scene in a fun way. If you’re interested, you’ll be able to see his DeLorean up close at Geekinomicon.

Jabee autographs covers of the Oklahoma Gazette
Jabee was also a blast to work with. He loved the project and said it was one of the most fun interviews he’s done. When we were done for the day, he was kind enough to do some autographs for Chris and another girl who was at Prairie Thunder Baking Company (which was where we borrowed the sharpie from). He signed the cover of the Oklahoma Gazette, which featured him.

Interviewing Jabee

Jabee poses with the car

Once we got started, we were on a roll. We only had to do a few takes of each shot and that was more to nail the timing and pacing of the scene. I had re-written the three-page script the day before shooting because I couldn’t get any extras to be zombies. However, I’m glad we didn’t because we went in a different and better direction.

After the interview, we had lunch together. Filming was great. I’m excited to premiere it this Thursday. In the meantime, here are some production stills from the video.

Jabee in Back to the Future - Production Still

Jabee in Back to the Future - Production Still

Jabee in Back to the Future - Production Still

You’ll be able to watch the video, along with an interview with Empire Slice House, this Thursday on Uncovering Oklahoma. The skit and interview will be intertwined, similar to what I did for the Sugar Free Allstars. I hope you check it out then!

Selfie with Brett Dickerson

Intersections, Mitchell and the 48 Hour Film Project


Happy Friday! I have a bit of a stack of things to talk about, which was not my intention to overlap sessions and I apologize for it.

During last weekend, I lead a team in participation in the Oklahoma City 48 Hour Film Project with Tiffany Gibson, Kristy Boone, Katie Kochelek, Josh Shriner, and Cassondra Darling. The event describes itself as, “a wild and sleepless weekend in which you and a team make a movie – write, shoot, edit and score it – in just 48 hours! The film we made, Guilt Trip, deals with a getaway for two sisters soon comes crashing into reality, as one is forced to deal with her mistakes. You can watch the trailer for it above.

Selfie with Ben Hlavaty and Heide Brandes on Mitchell in the Morning
This morning I was on Mitchell in the Morning (News Talk 1520 KOKC) to talk the 48 Hour Film Project along with Ben Hlavaty, who runs the Oklahoma City edition.

Selfie with Brett Dickerson
Also released today was my podcast session with Brett Dickerson for his show, Intersections. We also talk about the 48 Hour Film Project too, but we go more in-depth about it and also discuss my Summer Fun movie, District Up!, my books, and two of our mutural favorite movies.

I didn’t intend to stack my interviews like that today so I apologize to everyone.

Come see Guilt Trip along with 30 other fantastic local films this Sunday at the Oklahoma City Farmers Public Market (311 S Klein Ave, Oklahoma City 73108). Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. There’s a ton of shorts I personally am interested in seeing there so I know it’s going to be great.

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