Archive for June 21st, 2013

A Purposeful Christian Movement

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Illum Productions was approached by first time documentary director, Shara Pradhan, to assist her in spreading the word of her worthy cause of attempting to reduce suffering in third world countries by helping feed one million malnourished children.  The film follow’s the Baker family & their legacy as their grandfather missioned in China to the current movement of the family through Mozambique & has been in production over the last two years & Iris Global Films is in the last stretches of their mission.

Jerry, our creative director, has agreed to assist Iris Global with their film by creating a minute long animated sequence for one of the more sensitive parts of the film.  The scene will be stylized in a graphic novel style, minimalized by design.  “The director really wanted a stylized look to emulate the despair seen in these regions.  I am hoping to drive the illustrations by the documentary’s audible message in order to set the tone necessary to drive home their intent.” Jerry stated.

The filming of Compelled by Love: the Legacy of Iris continues in Pemba during the month of July & will be in post production until the beginning of the year.  Shara plans on holding the first film premiere in Bethel Church, Redding, California the first week of January.  Illum will be donating $4,500.00 worth of time & animation to this production.

The Lucky 6 – a Flagship for the Future?

Friday, June 21st, 2013

I thought I would write this personally because it is a project that I have a lot of faith in & hope for its future.  While I was serving my first Ringling College class, I sat in on a meeting that was spearheaded by Brad Battersby, Digital Film Department head & Tony Stopperan, college president’s assistant & Asolo Repertory alumni.  They proposed a radical idea of collaborating between the two institutions & creating a full length feature film over the summer using students as the crew & faculty as department head mentors.

l6RingbotUp to this time, no film college has been successful at this endeavor but Brad felt that with the right mentors & the right students with the Asolo actors, it could be done.  I felt that I should show my support for this project & offer my experience & services.  I met with Brad & discussed the production & shortly thereafter I was asked to come aboard the film as Production Designer mentor, a position that I would share with a colleague, Sheryl Haler; she over costumes & I over art & sets; we collaborated over the entire look of the film.  Mise en scene!

We started pre-production the day after classes were over for the college; I had to get classes covered at Riverview for the next month in order to commit full time to the production.  The production was opened to all the departments at Ringling making it a true collaborative cross disciplined production.  We had 60 + crew that housed BOAD, Digital Film, Illustration, Computer Animation, Photography, Asolo Rep & a couple of alumni.  The students became immersed into the reality that is filmmaking on a professional scale.  The schedule was a standard 6 day, 12 hour staple that easily ran into 14 to 16 hour days with 7 days being the norm for all professional & a few crew members.

This reality became too much for some of the students & though we had some drop from the production, their fingerprints are still on the film & those that stayed the course became part of a team that didn’t compromise on creativity, design & story.  We shot on two Red Epic’s & two Scarlets as well as a couple of GoPro’s & a Canon 5D Mark III based on what was called for in the scene.  We had some truly amazing locations that were donated to us, some wild props, automobiles & a techno-crane & we met some truly terrific Sarasotians.  The footage that we came back with, before color correction is truly breath-taking.  l6Mansion01

Due to the high profile nature of the two institutions, we had a great deal of media coverage & I know that they will continue to watch us as we head into post production.  We even worked several of the media into the storyline & they were able to become part of the film.  This was an ensemble piece & the actors we had from the Asolo, 5 graduates & 1 first year, were a pleasure to work with & brought their own flair to the characters.  Each of them were very humble, took direction well & were quick to ask & offer suggestions to the betterment of the process.

I met many wonderful & talented people & got to work with some industry superstars with impressive credentials.  My colleagues & alumni that I came to know on a personal level were dynamic & collaborative; we had wonderful discussions throughout the production & we really worked well together.  Yes, with any film there are hiccups & never will you find a production that doesn’t have issues to overcome, but I would say that any complication that arose was thought out & creatively handled.  I was pleasantly surprised by the outcomes of many of the production days & though exhausted, every morning I woke excited about the upcoming day.  I mean throughout the course of this film, I designed sets, choreographed a couple of small fight scenes, directed a couple of scenes & acted in a small role.  I love what I do.

I watched as the students became more & more proficient at this craft as they worked along side us as crew & colleagues.  Some really shined & became examples for those in their departments.  They have amassed invaluable tools, skills & work ethics that hopefully will be shown & handed down to the upcoming classmates.  If this film does what is expected of it & is successful, then this summer film program will have a strong foundation to stand on.  What does that mean for the students?  It means that they will have feature film experience on their resumes before they head out to find their paths in this industry.  To paint it into a possible perspective, I have a high school film student that was accepted into the film program at Ringling just before we went into pre-production.  He became a member of the crew on this film.  If successful & this program repeats itself, he will be able to have five features under his belt by the time he graduates.  Many graduates don’t have two much less any upon graduation, only student shorts.

l6Mansion02In closing, I have enjoyed being on the ground floor of this initiative.  I hope that I imparted some knowledge, dedication, work ethic & creativity to those I worked with.  My hope for this grassroots project is that it becomes successful, expands, inspires others & sets a blueprint for other filmmakers in the future.

Illum back on the “9 to 5” schedule

Friday, June 21st, 2013

As the old saying goes, “life imitates art”, Illum relived past artistic endeavors this past winter season by agreeing to create motion graphics for 9 to 5, the musical, for the Players Theatre.  Our Creative Director, Jerry is friends & neighbors with the Artistic Director of the Player’s Theatre, Jeffery Kin.  Jeffery knowing that Illum had created the Snow White Day Dream sequence for the Broadway show, asked Jerry if he would consider repeating that for the Player’s show.

Jerry states, “I agreed because I know that community theatre doesn’t get to explore the same type of artistic license that a larger Broadway theatre can.”  Upon our first pre-production meeting with the crew & director Jared Walker, Jerry quickly realized that the show was in greater need than just the Snow White sequence.  “I felt that the 2d animation was going to stick out like a sore thumb against the remainder of the show which was simply going to be still photographs.  The show needed an infusion of motion graphics throughout in order for the show to flow seamlessly & with a stronger emphasis on continuity so I decided that we were going to design the whole show’s backdrop in collaboration with Ken Mooney who was the set designer.” Jerry said. players9to5

Illum repurposed the animation for the day dream sequence along with creating 30+ other animated scenic graphics.  Due to the amount of complexity of the scenes along with the lighting scenarios created by Mike Wood, Qlab was brought in to sync & run the show’s audio, visuals & lighting to secure the show running smoothly.   The show ran, at Players, www.theplayers.org, for a few weeks in February with some additional shows added to the request of Sarasota’s community.

Ringling Adjunct

Friday, June 21st, 2013

This past January, our Creative Director agreed to becoming an adjunct professor with Ringling College in the Digital Film Department. Jerry is teaching Cinematic Story Telling to the second semester freshman class. Jerry describes the class as a “buffet” of the filmmaking process, basically getting to taste all the aspects of filmmaking without a focus on any one particular job type. Jerry states, “the students are exposed to all the particular components of filmmaking by diving right in & creating film exercises then stitching those exercises together to make a short film. They get to touch on all the departments necessary in making a film without concentrating on one job type.”

The students, in their sophomore year, begin to develop the individual core jobs by taking specifically tailored classes that focus on one filmmaking aspect like script writing, cinematography & lighting. In the meantime, however, the freshman class gets a quick sense of what it takes to put a film together. The course is quick & decisive & really shows where each student’s talents lie.

Jerry enjoyed his first endeavor as a faculty member saying that the experience was surreal because the program has changed so much since he was a student at the college. “The landscape/footprint of the school is 90% different & the programs have expanded exponentially so it was like I was going there for the first time. However as an alumni, I am happy to be able to give back to the school in another capacity while still being able to run Illum.” Jerry says.