One of the great things about my job is the view it often provides into worlds you’d never otherwise see. Last night was a case in point as I was hired at the last minute to help shoot a full scale first response/active shooter training. It was evident when the MAX train pulled up at midnight filled with five dozen volunteer extras in full injury make-up that this was going to a unique experience and it didn’t disappoint. I got perhaps the best gig roaming the scene handheld as the passengers evacuated the train and the police, fire and EMT teams descended upon the platform. Blanks were fired, injuries were acted out and I got to see the way our various public defenders coordinate when shit hits the fan. It served as both a reminder that we live in a chaotic, fragile world and that it feels damn good to have a camera in your hands, running around like a mad man in search of the next shot.
Since this is really the inaugural post in my live site, it might seem odd to title this post changes, but it’s pretty much been the word of my month so let me tell you why it’s appropriate. After 3.5 years working at Transport, and for a variety of reasons, I’m venturing out into the freelance world. I’m both nervous and excited for what this means both professionally and personally.
Professionally, I’ve already started doing some contract work for a local shop called Goat and Yeti and am editing a really fun documentary for a local filmmaker. I will also be working in a cooperative environment with my friends at Limbo Films to continue to develop my skills as an editor, director and producer.
Personally, I am also happy to announce that this summer I will be producing and directing a short film, written by and starring my dear friend Caitlyn Larimore, called The River Bride. I’m thrilled with the opportunity and we will have some big announcements to make about our project starting next week. I also plan to use this platform to blog about the experience as it unfolds, so be sure to check back often for an opportunity to see me spew set lingo and watch as I slowly, but dramatically mentally unravel throughout the process. Here’s a little tease of the film from some promotional photography we shot over the weekend:
As my beloved Seahawks sit on the verge of their second attempt at bringing home the Lombardi Trophy, I was reminded of a campaign I worked on for Dove Men+ Care back in 2010.
The ad was a video homepage-takeover of major sport sites (i.e. ESPN.com and FOXSPORTS.com) that featured a member of the winning team singing victoriously in the shower. Given that we had no way of knowing who the winner would be, we had to be prepared for every eventuality and negotiate to shoot with a member of all four potential teams the week before the championship games.
The logistics of this compressed timeline were such that we had to build a working shower stall in Portland to be shipped and easily assembled in both practice cities with only a day’s lead time and one day in between shoots. Since it wasn’t clear until two days before our shoot what the participating teams would be, we had to negotiate shipment of our over-sized set piece to the TBD location with an air freight company. Once we learned the participating teams (Indianapolis and New Orleans), we scheduled our talent and shoots and readied the shipment for delivery. Unfortunately, the specs of the plane required that the stall be shipped lying flat and the Art Department specifically labeled it to be transported vertically which (without confirming with anyone) the freight company took as the letter of law and left off their plane intended to get our set from Portland to Indianapolis the day before our shoot. With our entire production team en route, I was left in Portland trying to figure out how to get a giant asset 2/3 of the way across the country in less that a day.
After an exhaustive search and talking to charter companies that were willing to do it for the low six-figures (more than half our overall production budget, mind you), by a stroke of luck I learned about what I’ve come to call FedEx Black Ops. FEBO is essentially a concierge level service for large/time sensitive packages that defy description (for example my liaison there told me of shipping blue whale organs on ice), a surprisingly affordable solution under the circumstances, that would pick up our set from the other carrier and load it on a plane for what amounted to same day delivery. They literally called me on the phone every step of the way to inform me of the progress, which was going smoothly until a winter storm in Indianapolis prevented inbound planes from landing. The set then had to be sent to Cincinnati, loaded on a truck and driven in a blizzard to the set. Though it arrived 6 hours later than scheduled and I wasn’t there to see it, I was told the driver looked exactly like Santa Claus and was received in kind, the crew applauding as he backed into the loading dock.
I then edited two variation of the 7 second spot and distinct behind the scenes pieces for either outcome of the game. As it happened, we lucked into having eventual Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees starring in his first national campaign, a fact that landed Brees on Oprah and garnered our spot wide national press.
The unedited BTS video can be seen here: