If you’re fan of web video, odds are that you took in the cheeky insideriness of the Tumblr Documentary. But did you notice that all of those reblogs came from the Tumblr of the summer-long Movie Night series?

While the documentary got mega-famo, it’s one of many interesting videos made by a circle of California filmmakers, meant to entertain one another live and in person every couple weeks, all while improving their creative and production chops.

Each Movie Night has a theme that offers inspiration without too much constraint. For example, “documentary” night spawned the Tumblr video gold as well as this exploration of an I-can’t-believe-it’s-real-but-yes-it’s-hilariously-real alcoholic beverage (by the way, most Movie Night work is pretty NSFW):

“80s Action Movie Remake” night was even more gloriously all over the map, resulting in a couple of badass trailers, Lethal Weapon 2 remade/sweded in fifteen minutes, and, of course, The Goonies “done with no planning from memory only”:

Most recently, night of “A Sex Themed Period Pieces” produced moving videos on the limitations of 19th century, long-distance relationships and modern-day computer fetishism, though you really can’t go wrong with irreverent interpretations of history either. Especially when there’s a puntastic lesson to be learned:

Many of us have an inner twelve-year-old who can’t get enough of raunchy jokes (and if you’ve made it this far, you’re guilty!), but that’s not the only reason I believe these videos deserve attention.

The parallels with Channel 101’s crowdsourced entertainment are clear, though the emphasis is less on structured, competitive submissions and more on the collaborative skills and uninhibited creativity one needs to develop while learning to make cool stuff (interestingly, Tumblr documentarian and Movie Night regular Dave Seger works at Channel 101, according to his personal Tumblr).

Being creative is hard, and few auteurs can pump out something visually stunning on the first try. As the wise Ze says, you really don’t want to be a self-conscious, brain-crack-crippled dawdler.

The freewheeling, spaghetti-on-a-wall attitude of Movie Night combined with the supportive yet critical peer group is bound to thicken your skin, improve your focus, and expand your skill set. Why should writers have all the fun, anyway?

So check the next Movie Night out on Monday if you’re in the neighborhood – it’s obviously meant to be experienced in person, and not just because of the muffins. Otherwise, get your own group up and running! And close the cupboards!

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