Not That Funny is a movie that is shooting currently in Sierra Madre, CA. I am an associate producer on the show. What does that mean? Well, it can mean anything, but for me, what it has meant so far is
recording production sound for a week before our wonderful sound guy came on board
renting my Canon 7D camera, lights, hard drives, and other useful stuff to the production
managing the digital workflow for set-to-editor-to-director-to-post, as well as managing dailies
general help on-set and off-set
even some graphic design! (see the photo of a fake poster above)
maybe sound design.
The cast and crew is incredible. We are halfway through 25 days of shooting, followed by some additional pickups and various projects to get the film ready for completion. The editing process will take several months of massaging the footage to make it serve the story. Our hope is that it will get picked up for a few film festivals in early 2011, and then see theatrical distribution sometime during the year.
Well, I can’t say “did” for this one, since we’re still in production. I’m associate producer on a quirky little film called “Not That Funny” starring Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Chuck, and a bunch of other stuff). Here’s a breakdown of what I am working on during this film:
Recorded all production sound for the first week of shooting (before our wonderful sound guy showed up)
Managing/devising digital workflow for the production and post-production
Assisting with social media and web presence for the film
Renting Hearken equipment to the production (KinoFlo Diva Lights, Canon 7D, microphones, batteries, cards, hard drives, etc.)
Assisting in whatever way I can on a small shoot, sometimes as a production assistant, sometimes as a driver, sometimes schlepping crafts service, sometimes…?
The cast and crew of this tiny pic are wonderful, and I’m honored to be working with them all. I can’t wait to show you some of the production stills, and get this film finished so everyone can see it.
Did I mention we were busy this summer? (By the way, my son is the one in the yellow cap above…playing the nerd. Perfect casting.)(Oh, and the fantastic photos of this summer’s shows were taken by New York-based pro photographer Matthew Murphy. He got some incredible shots.)
The Pasadena Musical Theatre Program is a decades-old training program for kids in Pasadena, CA. But I would call this a kid’s program on steroids, or, better, a pro theatre program that just happens to have kids as its focus. But this summer we held a master class with Megan Hilty of Wicked fame, held a class entitled Pursuing a Career in Musical Theatre, and did a American Idol-style solo competition, in addition to the two main shows that are produced every summer. Ryan Scott Oliver (award-winning musical composer), Cindy Abbott (wonderfully dedicated Pasadena music teacher), and Emily Clark (fabulous musical theatre performer and teacher) have transformed this program into a powerhouse that trains over 125 students every summer.
So what did Hearken Creative do? Well, for starters, I joined the board of the program last summer, because funding for arts has dried up with local school districts and I feel strongly about arts education. So, on our own, we have raised somewhere in the range of $50,000 every summer to make the program happen. In addition, Hearken Creative
provided all design services for print media, programs, and press releases,
photographed the Megan Hilty master class,
filmed the Promise Competition,
ran sound for all events, including the master class, meetings and competitions, and
sound designed both major shows — the Juniors (4th-6th graders) and the Seniors (7th-12th grade) shows.
Essentially, this was two weeks of wrangling a high school auditorium (that a friend aptly called an “airplane hangar”) into submission, using Hearken Creative-provided equipment, rented equipment, and the high school’s 40-year-old 24-channel mixer, as well as my own 16-channel digital mixer. Twenty wireless body mics, plus choir mics and band sound reinforcement.
And boy, did it sound good! We don’t have the professionally-produced video from KLRN yet, but several people have posted their home videos already. Here’s one:
and my son singing a solo at the Promise Competition:
The purpose of the program is twofold: first, arts education is vital to a well-rounded education, and music/dance hits so many of the other disciplines — math, reasoning, spatial relationships — that it seems stupid the schools are cutting performing arts. Secondly, there is an erroneous meme out there that there are no viable career options in performing arts. We aim to change that perception.
By using Hearken Creative’s graphic design skills, our production and sound design skills, as well as our music background and fundraising acumen, we were able to help make this summer’s Pasadena Musical Theatre Program a complete success.
Yesterday I attended a half-day session arranged by The Association on the Canon DSLR cameras. Snehal Patel led the workshop of twelve people. I think I was the only one who wasn’t working in Hollywood, and we had quite a few veteran members of the ASC there as well. The industry is changing significantly. From the tech and post side of it, I think I have an incredible grasp on the realities of shooting with these new DSLRs. Now I want to get better on the production side as well.
One interesting thing about the day was a discussion by the DPs in the room concerning the disappointing performance of the RED One camera in real-world situations. Specifically, the cost of the camera, with all of the bells and whistles, is much higher than everyone expects (still much lower than traditional cameras, but the hype doesn’t match with reality). Secondly, the processor is just not robust enough to handle low light well; in fact, during shoots, the RED consistently requires more lighting (which equals more time and more money spent) than traditional cameras — DPs were complaining that you had to stick light everywhere, even in shadows, to make sure something showed up in the footage. So I’m leaning much less towards the RED right now, and seriously getting closer to either the 5D or the 7D, which excels in low-light situations. (I’m interested to see how the new RED cameras fare, but I’m not interested in purchasing any of them, either.)
Another illuminating conversation was how the major studios are attempting to cut down on technical staff (DITs, digital managers) in an attempt to save money on set. It’s going to backfire, but I’ll talk about that in a later post.
In this article from the NY Times, filming in Los Angeles neighborhoods dipped the lowest since they started tracking in 1993. Sad news. But what is harder to gauge is 1) where all of that business is going, and for how long, and 2) what long-term impact the loss of entertainment dollars will have on Southern California’s economy.
I kept my business here in Southern California specifically because it was the best place to market our eclectic brand of production, post-production, and design. And I still believe that SoCal is the best place for it. My hope is that, as the condition of the economy becomes clearer, that studios and agencies will realize all of the talent that is right under their noses. Additionally, my hope is that California will observe what other states are doing — incentives, tax breaks, etc. — and step up to make doing business here in SoCal a lucrative idea once again.