Archive for October, 2010

89 Locations & Growing

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Gas America Services Incorporated is teaming up with Illum Productions to expand their commercial broadcast initiative.

Gas America is family owned & has been operating in the Indiana & Ohio core since 1916 with 89 locations.  They are looking to expand even further into their demographic & through a series of broadcast commercials they hope to achieve their goal.  Illum was asked to put a fresh spin onto their identity by converting it to 3d & animating the identity for their multimedia branding throughout their broadcast & web production initiatives.

The company hopes to release their commercials by the end of the year.

Are we Beautiful or Whhuuuuuht?

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

The title of this blog comes from a semi-private joke that came from on our set toward the end of principal, but it provides a reminder of the delirious fun we all had while working on this production.  I felt it necessary to write this post myself to reminisce on the past two weeks that completed our Sarasota film.

So it’s official. Principal photography is completed on Beautiful Noise. We had an insane production schedule; however our crew & cast pulled out all the stops to help make this production a reality.  I don’t think I have ever worked with a more dedicated group of people, collaborators really, to pull off a production schedule such as the one we had on this film.

It is exhilarating to find a group of creative people that you share much in common without even realizing it.  As my role was officially assistant director/production designer, as with many indie films, you really wear many more hats.  Fortunately my style & personality blended extremely well with my first unit crew of John Goodbrad, director of photography & Shawn McCarty, DIT & together we collaborated on several of the film’s compositions & lighting schemes that became the canvas of Beautiful Noise.  On a few occasions since we didn’t always have a second unit crew, I would step in & shoot on the Red camera as John was buzzing through set running the Canon with his stedi-cam rig.  As many well know, taking over certain DP responsibilities is not an easy feat as styles & egos can clash on a production of this size.  However everyone was open & gracious in their work ethic & approach & even though we were burning upwards of 15 hours on certain days, our on set antics & camaraderie made the days fly by.  

As the first production week rushed by, I also found our director to be open & eager to conversation, collaboration & assistance in staging scenes & directing the actors to pull the best out of their performances toward the emotion that Steve had written on the pages of his script.  As a first time film director, he came in with a fierce excitement that takes all of us our first time in, but as the days went by, Steve worked into a groove that showed confidence & openness to his team’s help & suggestions.  I enjoyed our conversations about staging, economy, body language & performance.  I believe that the actors read our collaboration as well because they took what we both suggested & provoked performances that will have audiences laughing, crying & cheering alongside them.

The schedule saved the best for last as the musical performances were on the tail end of our production.  I feel this invigorated the crew even more as the lack of sleep was wearing on everyone.  Danielle White performed ‘Easy’, an upbeat tune that had everyone on their feet & some extras dancing.  She is a true songstress in every since of the word & can melt your heart with a subtle change of expression as she sings through the lyrics.  Chris McCarty’s ‘Butterfly’ was soulful & touching.  This man has a gift that had many with dropped jaws.  I don’t believe that there is anything this musician can’t do.  Then there’s the team of Kimber Cleveland & Doug Frasure, the couple who wrote most of the original music for this film.  Their stage presence & charisma is undeniable.  Doug’s animated expressions on the drums shows that he is right in his element & loves every bit of it.  Kimber is a pure pleasure to watch as she performed her song ‘Sorry’.  Her eyes & smile tell the whole story as she entertained the crowd.  Many of us forgot we were even working when we were filming these scenes.

I would have to say though, without a doubt that Wednesday’s shoot was by far the most exciting of the production.  Shooting at Riverview’s Performing Arts Center & having the senior class film students as our production assistants was a joy.  We took a couple of students & paired them with various crew pertaining to their interests.  As we staged, composed & directed the shots, we also taught & fielded questions from the students which made the day a pleasure.  These students were eager to know as much as they could from us & stayed by our sides throughout the shoot.  

Onto our finale concert performance welcoming back the main star.  Jay White is a man completely immersed in his element.  He electrified the stage & conducted the audience to cheers & applause.  This is no easy feat as we had Jay perform ‘Free Man in Paris’ at least 7 times to catch all the angles we wanted for the edit.  Each time we called cut & began setting up the next shot, Jay would break out into his Neil Diamond show tunes & the audience loved it, students, teachers & parents alike. Jay is getting the acting method down but performing is where Jay lives & he is spectacular at it.