Bruce has been doing more multi-camera shooting for television lately, however still in HD. This last project was quite ambitious, with a Jib arm, camera on dolly, hand-held or on sticks shooting 4 different fitness videos for Erin Yeomans at ATB Studios near Tomzilla in Burbank, CA. Needless to say, there was no room for error and Bruce powered through each one without any hiccups. The project is in post and hopefully will do quite well in dvd and on-demand distribution. BCurious Productions produced the videos in conjunction with Black Box Creative Group out of Hollywood, CA.
It seems like only yesterday, Bruce was filming Shelby Lynne record her Christmas album in Hollywood, CA. The album is printed and we received our advance copy a couple weeks ago when Bruce went out to shoot Shelby for a music video for "Why Didn't You Call Me" off her new album - a catchy tune. The Christmas album, "Merry Christmas!" includes some holiday classics as well as original Shelby Lynne recordings.
The music video, edited on Final Cut Pro, includes shots from our documentary - a little sneak peek of her tour performances and guest appearances- as well as the footage shot of Ms. Lynne in the desert. Soon to play on a network near you!
That's not all! Bruce just edited footage of her singing "O Holy Night" - on her new Christmas album- for Starbucks. Bruce has an amazing eye for capturing life as it happens. Though not meant to be a music video, the video speaks to the effect the actual room has on the recording! It was shot in the recording studio's bathroom!! He gets Lynne preparing and closes in as she soulfully pours herself into the music and her satisfaction of recording a perfect 'one-take'. In mixing the sound, he layers the original camera sound with the official song recording to produce a fuller, live rendition of the performance with the video. Great job, Bruce!
Bruce was finishing filming a short in West LA, so I stepped in and shot Shelby Lynne in a Hollywood studio recording songs for iTunes, an album that will be released by iTunes in the coming months. But due to legal, the footage will not be referred to as the iTunes recording session in the doc. Maybe we just say it was for the major, innovative digital media application company. Think anyone will know who the hell we're talking about? Anyways, the footage is ok - should have learned about the gain button in my down and dirty camera operator session this morning. Shelby hates bright lighting situations, so the studio was very low light, moody. Too dark to really see detail, but it's all there, amazing performances underlined by the artistic determination for musical perfection in one take. Rock on!
Today we launched a fundraising account on Kickstarter - we are looking to raise $15K by Labor Day. We are in post, but need additional interviews and funds for sound mix and titles. Several friends have found success for their endeavors on Kickstarter, so we are diving in to seriously finish this amazing documentary! Pass on the word and we look forward to your support!
The tour kick-started on April 22nd at The Roxy in Hollywood to a sold out, celebrity-glittered show. Bruce and I had filmed her interview on Tavis Smiley at KCET and the band's rehearsal at Mates in North Hollywood the day before. Although KCET wouldn't let Bruce on stage, we were able to capture everything before and after and some footage off the green room monitor.
Hand-held on the Panasonic HVX-200 for most of every day, charged up batteries and the extra P2 cards were a necessity to keep it rolling. There was one day the second battery didn't get fully charged and it threw our entire afternoon ritual off track.
When documenting, it's hard to say when that "moment" might happen, so unfortunately, filming must happen as constantly as humanly possible. As the only cameraman, this was a tremendous task for Bruce. I was just responsible for getting filming clearance and releases signed!
Friday, we met at the band's hotel, loaded up and left town for 5 whirlwind days and nights driving up the west coast. We shot four more gigs in some intimate theatre settings, mostly general admission/standing only: San Francisco, Chico, Portland and Seattle, plus a live radio station interview and performance on KIK-FM in Portland, OR. Although it's a supper club, I have to admit the Triple Door in Seattle has it's act together - they really know how to make a performer shine. And the audiences were so attentive, as most of Ms. Lynne's fans are during her performances.
Truck stops every few hours and sleeping in a different hotel bed each night; that's touring! I could see how cities and days start to blur together.
Eventually my duties included selling merchandise at the venues and handling the guest list/passes. I never realized how much venues take from the CDs and merch that is sold by performers - 20% of sales plus a flat fee for the sales person. If it was a good sales night, the venue can make a lot of extra cash off of the merch table.
We captured some excellent times with the band and some soulful performances. We cannot wait to start editing the material together.
On April 28th we flew back to Burbank just long enough to repack for the red-eye to make our first trip to the Tribeca Film Festival.
Outside of film festivals and networking conferences, the AFCI Locations Trade Show was our first industry trade show. Comicon, E3 and NAB can pass for industry-related trade shows, but this one is specifically for filming locations. The one thing that I really enjoyed was the 2-7 p.m. show hours! This allows production to get things done in the morning and still have time to head to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to investigate the show.
I was pretty impressed with all the film commissions that held booths at the show, as well as numerous vendors: HVAC unit rentals, hotels, government and tourism offices. All the tchotchkes and sweets at each stop were tempting!
Domestically, all the states with filming tax incentives were present as well as all their regional film commissions. California and Louisiana probably had the most regional film commissions stretching over 3 aisles!
International film commissions representing almost every stretch of scenic land/water available for filming around the world were there, from Norway to Spain, Germany to Jordan, Thailand to Korea, Canada to Panama, The Virgin Islands to Australia. Of course, not every country was present. I was really disappointed, that the Philippines did not have a booth there. I wonder if the Philippines is a production friendly country? Since we do have some projects that are set in the Philippines, ideally we would film those in-country. If anyone has filmed there recently, please let me know.
Often, the film commissioners themselves were at the booths to answer questions about locale, weather restrictions, crew and equipment, studio facilities, production and (ahem!) financial support. Most conversations centered around upcoming productions and effects of the economic climate on filming. My badge had a bar code with BCurious Production's information so each booth that wanted my contact information just zapped by badge with a digital scanner - like at the grocery store- and no business card was given away! Very eco-friendly.
I talked to Louisiana, California, Canada and San Antonio film commissions at length about our slate of films. Andrew Saldana; the Vice President of Productions at SAF Studios in San Antonio, TX; and I began talking about mutual acquaintances - this industry is really small!
It was great to hear from many of the commissioners and location representatives how supportive they can be to a production: breaking down scripts for budgeting, assistance with tax incentives paperwork, finding crew, ease of shipping equipment and even sending photos of locations you need to find. For example, Jordan does not charge any taxes or customs on shipments, which can normally spike up the cost of filming abroad.
I tried not to walk away with too many brochures and production guides - 50 of those books in a single tote can weigh a person down! Not eco-friendly! Instead I opted for business cards to reference their online production guides or CDs. What did we do before the internet?
However, before I could leave the westside, I stopped by the Film Incentives &Financing Panel hosted by iHollywood Forum. Another new experience and crowd to network!
I met a colleague, Bill Kelman, Director/Producer, and several new faces Mireck Kullitt, Director; Saba Moor-Doucette, Actor; Jeff Braer, Creative Director and two of the panelists, Jenna Edwards, Producer; and Michael Bennett, CEO/Founder Bennett Global Entertainment. The panel was quite insightful in discussing the elements of a producer's package for investors, the current production environment, alternative distribution channel trends and financial opportunities.
An interesting tidbit- a tax credit is just that, it's a credit for company's tax return. A rebate or cash refund is an actual check that the production company receives upon an audit of production expenses in the state. So unless your business is incorporated in Louisiana, the tax credit, if transferable - which it is in Louisiana- would only benefit a Louisiana entity affiliated with the production. Sounds like tax refunds/rebates are easier to manage.
iHollywood Forum presents quarterly panels, the next one in June is on the future of 3-D. We'll be interested to see who they have on the panel for that timely discussion.
Developing projects is not as glamorous as it sounds. Setting up concept meetings, budgeting, writing proposals, treatment/material, researching and relationship-building with new vendors. Generally, I manage the set-ups and writing and Bruce handles all the talking. It's the perfect partnership!
The fun part starts next week when we hit the road on a new documentary film, The Shelby Lynne Project. We just booked the dates that we'll be on the road for the Grammy-award winner's Spring 2010 U.S. tour for her new album "Tears, Lies And Alibis". U.S. tour dates are available on her website and myspace pages: www.shelbylynne.com.
We start in West Hollywood, CA on Thursday, April 22nd (Earth Day!) at The Roxy, head north to San Francisco; Chico, CA and hop up the coast to Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. We pick up with the band on the East coast in Nashville, TN; Birmingham, AL; and Atlanta, GA before winding down back home on Solano Beach in sunny California. More dates to come!
Bruce will have a hand-held camera rig built by James Dickson for the tour. He'll be shooting on our Panasonic HXV-200.
Rockin' n' rollin' and getting it all on video!