Forced Perspective - Threadless + Hope For The Day

Recently Derek Hess and I traveled to Chicago to screen Forced Perspective at Threadless HQ to benefit Hope for the Day honoring Mental Health Awareness Month.

View from Threadless HQ

View from Threadless HQ

D.H. Currier

D.H. Currier

Matthew Santos

Matthew Santos

Forced Perspective - Screening

Forced Perspective - Screening

Audience

Audience

Before the screening we had live musical performances by D.H. Currier and Matthew Santos. Check it out below.

It was an amazing experience for us, as this audience was so receptive to the film and asked lots of challenging questions. See the QA below.

Thanks so much to Jonny and Lance, and to all the fans who came out. You challenged and inspired us. For more info, check out this interview with Derek about the filming process on the Threadless Blog.

Monakr - "Rosemary" // Behind The Scenes

A few weeks ago I got to shoot one of my favorite concepts to date for a fantastic track. Monakr is a super group composed of members of Hey ChampGemini Club and fronted by the haunting vocals of Matthew Santos.

The concept of the video was to create an etherial mood piece featuring a spooky muse enchanting the audience with medusa like looks and Dionysian movement. The band almost conjuring her into existence (like a genie) with their music. The song is very a haunting nod to the 80's era of music and has constant references to William Shakespeare's masterpiece Hamlet. Specifically the death of Ophelia.

Representational painting of the death of Ophelia - Inspiration for the piece

Representational painting of the death of Ophelia - Inspiration for the piece

When I listened to the track, I resonated with the undertone of spirituality and godlike/archetypal quality of the girl in the song. The song to me is an exploration of lust. It's a girl with whom a man is obsessed with to the point where she has complete control of him. Like medusa, her beauty has turned him to stone. I wrote this bit below about the Charachter:

Ophelia is greek tragedy manifested in a woman. Ophelia is other worldly and supernatural. Irresistible to any man. The physical muse for our song, it should feel like the band is playing her into existence. I see Ophelia having lots of see through lace, and moving seductively. Rolling her hips, and slinking around almost like a cat. Graceful, beautiful and powerful. She is a personification of perfection. The goddess of all muses on earth. She simply should not be real. Her whole being prophetic, and it is our unavoidable fate to witness her. Much like Medusa, we all (figuratively) turn to stone upon viewing her unparalleled beauty. Her beauty is her superpower, but also her weakness, and she knows it. She longs for closeness, and much like King Midas, can never obtain it. As a wise man once told me: “Monogamy is the great causality of beauty.” Let’s personify that in Ophelia.
— Nick Cavalier
Some historical/mythological references in my treatment

Some historical/mythological references in my treatment

The band resonated immediately with the concept, our only concern being it could end up being cliched. A pretty girl dancing in a dark room doesn't sound very magical. But the devil is always in the details. Our number one challenge was casting. We needed someone who looked the part, a fair skinned beautiful and enchanting girl. Black hair, bright eyes, tattoos and curves. She also needed to be a high level dancer to be able to move in a seductive way. This is about presence. Captivating the audience is key. I worked closely with my producer James Waters and we sent the track out to a pool of dancers and asked them to submit a dance to the track with their own flavor to it. I wanted to see how they were feeling and interpreting the song. After many dances were reviewed we decided on Tracy Lynn Stanbury

The Beautiful Tracy Lynn Stanbury

The Beautiful Tracy Lynn Stanbury

See Tracy's dance submission below.

Tracy's movement had such athleticism and control to it as well as the mysterious and enchanting flavors of middle eastern dances. Tracy also has the presence we were looking for. When she makes eye contact, she almost cuts through you.

I wanted the performance and the storyline to have motivated moonlit lighting

I wanted the performance and the storyline to have motivated moonlit lighting

So much of avoiding the cliche' was in how the dance and performance was presented. I wanted the cut to start out ambiguous and mysetrious and slowly reveal the band and the dancer over time. Micro > Macro. I enlisted Tyler Clark, a talented young DOP to work on the aesthetic with me in pre-production.

Lighting tests

Lighting tests

Prism tests

Prism tests

We took steps to make sure it was shot in a specific way that felt current, but had a tinge of the 80's era music videos, (Soft focus, vignetting, lens filters) while adding current aesthetics such as Lens flares, prisms in front of the lens, and high concept lighting. The result is something stunningly unique and beautiful. 

Another huge part of this concept was art direction. We plan on having "Fantasy" cut aways or inserts exploring some of the more magical or archetypal imagery in my treatment. I enlisted Inda Blatch-Geib as our art director and she brought a decorative eye to the treatment. It was important to me we not be to "on the nose" with the references below:

We really wanted to contrast the idealized version of her with the reality of her being. What the man lusting after her sees in his head, versus what she actually is. Also, we wanted Iconography that implies female sexual prowess, femininity, fragility, delicateness.

I wanted the inserts to feel roman, and sort of pagan at the same time.

We shot this over two long production days with a half day for tech and pre-light. We were able to set up 4x4 banks on the truss at OSV Studios in Cleveland and have two looks to bounce back and forth from. This made our ambitious shot list possible. Enjoy some behind the scenes below:

Prisms helped us create specialized lighting effects.

Prisms helped us create specialized lighting effects.

Mikey Tell (Key Grip) napping hard. Mikey was on a night shoot with Matthew Mcconaughey and came straight to our set. That's dedication to your craft.

Mikey Tell (Key Grip) napping hard. Mikey was on a night shoot with Matthew Mcconaughey and came straight to our set. That's dedication to your craft.

Witchy Woman

Witchy Woman

I am beyond excited for this one. I am already digging deep into the cut for this and spending lots of time finessing. I really feel like we have something special here, both the track and concept mirror each other in a special way. Excited to get it out to all of you. Huge thanks to all of the crew who worked on this. It was an extremely ambitious project for the budget and we pulled it off because of all of you. 

First and foremost thanks to Monakr for the opportunity to make something beautiful to an amazing piece of music. Thanks to Craig Smith and the folks at OSV Studios for the hospitality for two days. Huge thanks to the camera department for all their back breaking work on this. Tyler Clark for his vision on the look. Thanks to Mikey tell for sticking it out on our small time set after Mcconaughey wore him out. (allright allright allright) Thanks to Jordan Pellegrini for his razor sharp focus pulling. (shot at 1.4f) Thanks to Josh Quiros for his camera operation ability and overall help on set. Thanks to Adam Tolley and Jeff Wexler for the assistance throughout both days. Huge thanks to James Waters for his pre-production wizardry. Thanks to Magan McLaughlin and Luke De Jue for Production assisting. Thanks to Katie Wyatt & Morgan Jones for the beautiful Hair and Makeup. Thanks for the beautiful art direction and vision of Inda Blatch-Geib and Dred Geib. You guys brought Ophelia to life. Big thanks to Julia Toke and Anna Wallace-Birchler for being hosts to a bunch of dirty band dudes for 3 days. And last but not least, thanks to the beautiful Tracy Lynn for being a patient soul with the very physical demands of her for this one.  

Forced Perspective Screening and QA - Threadless + Hope For The Day

Very excited to announce we will be partnering with Threadless and Hope For The Day for mental health awareness the month of May. Forced Perspective will be screening at the Threadless space and Derek and Myself will be doing a QA following the screening. On top of that we will have a mixer with live performances by Matthew Santos and Dustin Currier who both contributed music to the film.

Click HERE for information and registration.

Idiots - Comedy Shorts

A few months ago, my friend, comic actor and writer Greg Santos approached me to make a series of short films called "Idiots" showcasing him and talented and beautiful Jade Catta Preta as a disgustingly head over heals couple in love.

Each sketch is a voyeur into different sides of the relationship, and as they progress as a series, there is a sense of camaraderie between the couple that grows, deepens and enriches the comedy in the pieces. Even though they give each other grief, It's recieved as endearing and sweet by the audience.

The sketches are amazing, and frankly as a series I feel you get a sense of the characters personalities and the essence of who they are as people. Which was something that was really important to me as a director.

These we a lot of fun to make, and I had help from so many talented people.

First of all thanks to Jade and Greg for over delivering on performances. They made me look good and the job easy. Thanks to Kevin Nealon for stopping by and giving us a very funny cameo. Thanks to Billy Bonnell for "acting" as if he is disgusted by PDA.

Big thanks to the crew. Clifton & Evelyn Stommel for shooting and assisting. As well as color grading. Lili Kaytmaz for making everyone look beautiful. Thanks to Michael Seifert and Dave Shaw for doing the post mix, sound design and music supervision. Thanks to my talented brother Tony Cavalier for the logo design. Check them out and let us know what you think! Share and make them spread like Jade and Greg's love in the sketches. They deserve it.

"Idiots" - Comedy Shorts - Behind The Scenes

Recently my friend, comedian and actor Greg Santos approached me to direct a series of comedy shorts he wrote. Short, sweet, hysterical vignettes into the ridiculousness of relationships. He teamed up with the very talented Jade Catta Preta as his co-star.

Greg getting into character. Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Greg getting into character. Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

I was so pumped to do it, Greg is a fantastic talent and a gifted writer as well. (Check out Billy and Greg's sketch group The Yacht Club.) 

Essentially, the sketches are quick moments of voyeurism between Greg's character and his girlfriend (played by Jade). The idea is to present a window into who these people are (in a short amount of time) and showcase the absurdity of a long term relationship as it grows. Few situations include; being too funny, mangina, PDA, misspeaking, food in beards and catching someone singing a horrible song out loud. 

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

I enlisted my friends at Stommelhaus, Clifton and Evelyn Stommel to give the films a look. Clifton and I decided we wanted the look to be natural light motivated, so the space seemed natural and the comedy could play out front as the star. Often times the aesthetic can distract from the content in comedy, so it was important to me this look as natural as possible. Makeup artist Lili Kaytmaz made everyone look soft and beautiful on screen.

Lili making Greg look human. Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Lili making Greg look human. Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Lili fixing one of the talents hair. Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Lili fixing one of the talents hair. Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Hey I know that guy! Special cameo by Kevin Nealon. Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Hey I know that guy! Special cameo by Kevin Nealon. Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

We shot six sketches over the course of one eighteen hour day. We set up around 8 am and moved quickly through each short script, (about 1 min each) making sure to gather plenty of options for the cutting room. I was a bit nervous about shooting 6 concepts in one day, but Greg and Jade delivered with ease, and the vibe on set was one of camaraderie. Made the day go smoothly, and we got everything we needed.

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

I'm pretty excited about these, we just reached picture lock and are in the process of coloring picture and mixing the audio. Shout out to my friend Michael Seifert for his post mix work on this as always. Stay tuned for more information about the release. Thanks to everyone who came out for this one. Excited to start working in the comedy world.

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

Photo Cred: Evelyn Stommel

ENDPAIN : Earl Granville - "The Weight We Carry"

Today on Veterans Day, I am honored to share the film I created about my friend Earl Granville for an organization called ENDPAIN. Earl is easily the most inspiring human being I've ever met.

So many people to thank. Huge thanks to Travis Mauck for making this possible. Thanks to Nicola Raggi for shooting the film so beautifully and gracefully. Tim Schmalz for the amazing and compelling score. Joe Lombardi for his wonderful color work, and Michael Siefert for his mix/sound design. Huge thanks to Rick Kolberg, Melanie Davis and Lindsey Hardin for helping out as well. 

I am very proud of this piece and how it will help people struggling with physical and mental pain. Hope you enjoy it.