In last week’s post, I discussed some strategies to help find your way to the perfect seat in the photo/video world. Now that you’ve landed in your the proper role, how do attract the eye of clients and collaborators? Again, a simple one-step process – become an expert. Become an expert in something totally outside of your chosen career. During the years I spent producing for Corey Rich, I heard him say this time and again. Whether talking to students, emerging photographers, or established pros, the advice was always the same – become an expert and find your niche. After a few years as an independent producer, working with a great spectrum of collaborators and establishing my own niche, I’ve come to realize that this advice not only applies to the image makers, but many members of a crew. Continue Reading
Over the years, speaking at workshops, career days and portfolio reviews, the most common question I’m asked is “How do I become a …?” Producer, director, photographer, no matter your dream, the first step is always the same.
As may come as a surprise, this step has nothing to do with going to college. This is a great path for some people, but does not work for everyone. My suggestion applies to anyone, with or with out a degree. Continue Reading
Despite a recent non-sensical rant by Stefan Sagmeister, I very much consider myself a storyteller. In fact, I believe we all have the capacity to be storytellers, as everyone has something unique worth sharing. Conventionally, most of the stories I capture are part of a project, though many of the best tales come about between takes. Sometimes. it’s just about getting the right people in a room to talk about life – and it goes on from there. Continue Reading
I love research – digging through websites, books and magazines, searching for that one essential bit of info which will bring life to a project. When time allows, my research focuses on photographers and filmmakers. I look for images that inspire me, for videos that I wish I had produced. (Check out my growing series blog “I Wish I Had Produced That – IWIHPT”)
Once I’m inspired, my search goes a bit deeper. Beyond the image maker, I look for the person behind the curtain, the producer. One part spying, one part voyeur, I want to know who’s doing what, and more importantly, how they did it. I have quite a few “impossible” production feats of which I’m proud, but there will always be some producers out there who continue to set the bar even higher. One such person is Lynn DelMastro, producer and studio manager for the incomparable Joe McNally. Joe’s images, and the production behind them, is anything but straight forward. They routinely involve some combination of improbable locations, gut wrenching emotion and circus animals, all perfectly lit. These set-ups don’t just happen, they are expertly produced.
I first learned of Lynn’s work years ago when I was producer and studio manager for Corey Rich. It was quite a feat to carry a business card with both titles, but Lynn makes it look easy. Check out Joe’s blog to read what he has to say about his “studio manager, producer and Mother of Dragons.” It’s always interesting to read about a producer’s work from the photographer’s perspective. Nice work Lynn. Thanks for the inspiration.
Much of last October was spent with the talented Christopher Wilson and a wonderful crew, capturing content for Barnes Jewish Hospital. The project started simply as a phone call from one producer to another, looking to me for some recommendations of local resources. As pre-production moved along and conversations continued, I was signed on to the project. Initially tapped as location manger, my project job title quickly grew to include that of line producer and b-unit producer. We spent two weeks together in some great locations, listening to the stories of patients whose lives had been immeasurably improved by the hospital’s doctors and staff.
In addition to the still images currently in use on the hospital website and signage, four commercials are in rotation, sharing these stories of hope. It’s been especially exciting to see these spots play during the Oscars and the Olympics. Many thanks to the patients for sharing their stories of hope, as well as to the doctors, for making these stories possible.
Click the banners below to see all four commercials.
Red Bull athlete Felix Baumgartner jumps from the edge of space, as captured by GoPro.
Click the image above for 8 minutes of white knuckled inspiration.
Red Bull and GoPro. These days, It’s almost impossible to watch documentation of a human achievement that doesn’t include one or both of these brands – and that’s a good thing. Say what you will about the brands, but realize they have both established a very impressive trajectory from which we all stand to benefit. Continue Reading
Given my current line up of projects, this second installment of IWIHPT (I wish I had produced that) should come at no surprise. Call it entertainment or research, I’ve watched Sound City a number of times and it just keeps getting better. The story arc, secondary plot lines and interviews are expertly composed. In simple terms, it’s a great film with a wonderful soundtrack.
For the story, the research and all the musicians involved, this must have been a dream project. I am increasingly impressed by the work of Dave Grohl. Each new project, be it music or film, is a success for one common factor, he’s doing what he loves. The passion is undeniable and inspiring.
Check out the trailer and a host of download/rental options on the Sound City website.
In the midst of one of the most exciting projects of my career. Surrounded by great people and amazing music – this is why I do what I do. More to come soon.
For several years, I’ve been compiling a mental list of spots and campaigns so impressive or inspiring, they make me think, “I wish I had produced that” (IWIHPT). Some of these are simply wonderful examples of pure storytelling, while others, given their production value, must have been a dream to produce. With this, I am launching a new regular feature here on the blog, sharing my sources of awe and inspiration.
The first installment is a branded story from Google India. There is a lesson in here for every brand – stop trying to make the logo bigger, just let the product speak for itself. From a production standpoint, I really enjoyed the pacing and the subtle nuances throughout the storyline. As is a trademark to any powerful visual storytelling, this piece is successful no matter the language. Script and story aside – I will jump at any opportunity to travel to India.
Kudos to Google India and Ogilvy India for the work.