Proud to announce my film on Gotta Groove Records has been selected into Palm Springs International Film Festival & Palm Springs ShortFest! The film will screen Thursday, June 22 - 10:30am, at Camelot Theatres as part of the Face the Music program. We are also in competition for their Online ShortFest. You can vote for us now through the 23rd.
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.
In honor of mental health awareness month we are partnering with Threadless to release a limited edition t-shirt to benefit Hope For The Day. Forced Perspective has also released 8 teaser trailers for the film. Check them out below and get the film on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu and Vimeo on Demand.
I have long been interested in the link between truly talented people and the motivations behind what drives them. The contrast between dark and light, and the connection between an internal deficit and genuinely unique art. Filling a void. Whether it was Aerosmith writing the best music when high on heroin, or Van Gogh losing touch with reality and mailing his ear to his ex-girlfriend saying "Haven't heard from you in a while!". There is an undeniable bridge between damaged people and earth shattering art. The true human condition must be lived first, in order to be expressed in a pure way.
Billy Bonnell is a standup comic based in Los Angeles. I met Billy through mutual friends in LA four years ago. Billy is a lighthearted guy with a dark past and cynical sense of humor.
Many famous comedians talk about the link between craving laughs and a tortured soul, and I do believe this to be true. Billy's origin story explains his comedy, and is a testament to the ideas and theories expressed by many comics. Billy is a personification of these ideals. He uses his comedy to express his emotions, and in doing so connects deeply to his audience through honesty and trust. This film is an exploration of the grief and sadness behind his art, and how those feelings are expressed in a beautiful way through his craft.
At the age of 10 I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, at 11 I was mentally hospitalized for 6 months. At 16 I was expelled for acting out, put in a behavioral school, and then hospitalized again. This time in isolation. Being bipolar, and having had a dark past myself, allowed me to use my craft to express my frustrations and feelings to the world. I believe myself to be a better person because of it. That is why I connect so deeply to this story. I hope people can see Billy in this piece (and a bit of myself) and grow from it. I hope they are able to use something they are passionate about to express themselves, and to heal.
So many people to thank. First and foremost, thanks to Billy for letting me tell his story. Including Billy's family, especially his mom Rene Smith for being so open about such a personal story. Huge thanks to Travis Mauck and ENDPAIN for producing this short film. Thanks to American Comedy Co, Westside Comedy Theater, Hyenas Comedy Club and Reds Saloon for being so hospitable.
Big thanks to StommelHaus (Clifton Stommel, Evelyn Stommel) for shooting the key footage and color grading the film. Thanks to Ryan Sterton for shooting a few shows in San Diego. Big thanks to Michael Seifert and Dave Shaw for their original music, sound design and mix. All of you guys make this work possible so thank you so much.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New Year. New Reel. Looking forward to what 2017 brings my way.
Since early August I've been following and documenting the conception of Portico - by Fabio Viviani inside Del Lago Resort & Casino in upper New York. Pleased to finally release four short documentary vignettes we filmed the past few months. Thanks to James Mills, Timothy Schmalz, Joe Lombardi and Michael Seifert for helping make these possible. Stay tuned for the full film.
About 6 months ago my good friend Michael Seifert approached me to write a treatment on his song "All Too Much" for his new music project You And The Few. He explained to me he wrote the core of this song when he was in one of the darkest places in his life. Divorce, sleezy business partner, loss of his studio to a flood. It was all too much. Here is a sample of the demo I was sent:
Rather than dig into the specifics of the meaning of the song, I decided to focus on the feeling of helplessness the song emotes. I always start with an aesthetic, and It was important to me this concept be timeless. Iconography. I also wanted to do something kind of daring with the craft. For some reason I kept circling back to this reference image I pulled a few years back.
What I love about this image (conceptually) is the intimacy and self reflection of the subject and the sense of impending doom derived from the skull. The duality of the reflection and the implied metaphor. Obviously it's also visually stimulating, and speaks directly to our human core worries and concerns. The big questions. About life, death and our own mortality. It implies a much deeper story.
The song itself has a morose and haunting tone to it and I thought writing a concept around these big ideas would really reflect and compliment the tone of the track. So I conceptualized a story around this aesthetic.
I thought to myself: Where is the most intimate place in the world for a musician? First thing that came to mind was a green room. It's where they spend their alone time. Didn't feel quite right. How about a girls bedroom? A girl they care deeply for? What if that girl had some deep issues? How would that effect the musician? These were the sparks that lit the fire.
So I settled on the idea of a one take music video, shot in high speed. A camera slowly tracking out, observing a musician looking painfully in the mirror confronting himself with life's big questions.
As we reveal more information, we see he is inside of a girls bedroom. As we reveal more and more we see her passed out naked on the ground. As we reveal more, we see she has some deep seeded drug and addiction issues. We keep tracking out to reveal the whole room, and our musician looking deeply into his mirror to form the shape of a skull. We keep tracking out as the room vignettes. We pull our camera out of a mouth. That mouth closes and we reveal it's the face of the girl from the room. We reveal more and she is inside a casket. We reveal even more and we see a rose placed in her hands. We reveal even more and we see the musician from the room walking away from her grave.
Accomplishing this treatment was a tall order. There are so many elements that have come together for this to be achieved correctly. A practical set that forms a skull. A long one take dolly move with camera pans. Focus being pulled effectively. Timing of performances. It's a tall order for any music video or any film in general, and I wanted to do it all in camera.
As soon as I have the treatment approved by Michael, I started reaching out to some crew in Cleveland. Most people don't know this but Cleveland is a fantastic place for production. It might not have the talent pool of Los Angeles but the crew that I put together is easily able to rival the quality that I experience every day in LA. I had never worked with a single person in this production before, and they all work together like gears in the machine. Efficient and coordinated, oozing with talent. We had a half day of tech and building set to prepare.
I approached my good friend and producer James Waters to help achieve the impossible. Assembling a crew, gear and talent in less than 4 days, as I had jobs back to back in Chicago and LA. He delivered in a very impressive way.
When I left on prep day, we were hours of work behind. Day of production, I flew in from speaking at the University of Cincinnati directly to set at 7am in the morning. I walked into a beehive of people working towards a vision I wrote 5 days prior. It was almost overwhelming.
Behind the scenes photos by Kim Henderson
I want to thank the amazing people who made this happen. This video legitimately wouldn't of been possible with all the hard work all of you put in. First and foremost, Michael Seifert for asking me to make this video. Lauren Lapinta for playing our lead. James Waters for pulling off the impossible. Tyler Clark for his preparation and focus as a DOP. Michael Cameneti for his incredible camera operation and cinematography. Matthew Hayes for his insight and experience as key grip. Magan Mclaughlin and Julia Toke for their art department skills. Brigit Youngblutt and Cheyenne Krieger for making everyone look sexy. Joab Roseberry for his focus skills and camera assistance. Josh Quiros for his grip skills. Luke De Jeu for his assistance and behind the scenes coverage. Michael Turner for assisting on camera and dolly. Dave Shaw for his assistance on prep day and shoot day. Anna Rencz for her PA skills. Gary Crable for logging the footage. Craig Smith for the grip truck.
Excited to put this piece together. Stay tuned for more updates, and insight into the piece. We plan on putting together a 5-10 min behind the scenes documentary vignette.
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.