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.
The past few days I had the pleasure of documenting the story of Edgar Torres at Bodega De Edgar, and his inspiring life journey. Easily one of the most passionate and inspiring people I've met in the wine world, and his enthusiasm and drive is infectious.
Behind The Scenes
It was an fantastic two days of touring the Paso Robles area, and seeing how the beautiful Spanish varietals are put together. Thanks to the folks at Herman Story and Desparada for connecting me to Edgar, and thanks to Krissy and Andrew for helping keep Edgar and I on schedule and making all our needs a reality.
Huge thanks to Jonathan Chou for shooting all the wonderful footage. He's a super talented young cinematographer and I was happy to work with him for the first time, hope to work together with him soon in the future.
Edgar's story is too long and intense for me to summarize after the past two days of shooting, but I'm excited to share it with all of you soon. Stay on the look out for this piece in the near future.
About 6 months ago I directed 52 episodes of content in 4 days. After getting some much needed rest, I started editing the series. Fabio's Kitchen is an episodic online cooking show with Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani teaching you some amazing kitchen skills. Funny, engaging and insightful the series is not your typical procedural cooking show.
Special thanks to the wonderful crew at Chef'd for having us, and to the prep cooks, camera operators and many more. Huge thanks to Kevin Lezak for helping produce all 52 episodes. Stay tuned for more info and sign up for the show on Fabio's website.
Recently I had the opportunity to document the conception, resource gathering and production of Portico, a new restaurant by Fabio Viviani. A truly farm to table restaurant, taking advantage of the rich resources in the finger lakes region of upper New York. The restaurant is set to open in February 2017 inside Del Lago Resort and Casino, and we are documenting the whole process for a short documentary brand film.
Our first tier of shooting was with the farmers in late August, sourcing the ingredients for the menu locally. This isn't a food trend or ploy, this is real farm to table food. Reflective of Fabio's Italian heritage. We the crew, and you the viewer, will be experiencing the discovery of the ingredients for the first time along with Fabio through the footage.
Thanks to all the wonderful farmers and cheese/winemakers in the area for opening our doors to us. These include the folks at Glenora Wines, Muranda Cheese, Pedersen Farms, Birds Hollow Beef & Big Mamou Organic Farms. Beautiful locations and fantastic people.
Below you will find some straight off camera stills. I'll keep you posted here on the blog as we release more behind the scenes imagery, the teasers and final pieces. Stay tuned!
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of telling the inspiring story of my friend SSG Earl Granville and his fight for personal sovereignty after losing his leg to a roadside bomb and his twin brother to suicide. Earl is now a motivational speaker, and adaptive sports athlete, competing at a high level. Earl even carries a cinder block named "Cindy" to help motivate people through thier dark times with a visual metaphor. The shoot was all made possible by an organization called ENDPAIN. They let me select Earl as my subject, and share his story to help spread the word on what they are doing.
I met Earl though the guys at Oscar Mike in 2013, and he is one of the most inspiring people I've ever met. He's a goofy and loveable guy with a heart of gold. His story is so intense, if you wrote it into a screenplay you'd think to yourself: "We need to tone this back a bit. It's too over the top". Of course there is more to Earl's story then the above synopsis, So you''ll have to tune into the video when it releases to learn more.
The film wouldn't of been possible without all the help from the crew. Thanks to Travis Mauck of ENDPAIN for approaching me for this. Special thanks to Nico Raggi for shooting the principle photography for the documentary. Thanks to Tim Schmalz for the epic original music composed to picture. Thanks to Joe Lombardi for his color work. and lastly thanks to Michael Seifert for his post mix and sound design.
We got picked up by Devour.com, and I was asked to write a short article about grit and craftsmanship in Cleveland for Make Magazine. Shortly there after, we got picked up by Fast Company Design, HYPEBEAST, Laughing Squid, Magnetic Magazine and Digg.com! I'm honored and pleased this piece is getting the attention it deserves.