The Fall Line

What seems a LONG time ago, when I was just learning my ambition towards cinematography (away from directing/writing), I teamed up with now friend, Cody Greene. We wrote and co-directed (I was also cinematographer!) a short film called 'The Fall Line'.
It's the short story about a prodigy fashion designer under pressure by his agent and sponsors. In a desperate attempt to sabotage his own career, he decides to make nothing for the models to wear. The show must go on, and the models are nude. The crowd mistakenly interprets the action as a work of art, and thus the protagonist has escaped his attempted career suicide, and the pressure has been lifted as he has more time to create his next clothing line.
It's a student film people, it's not that clever or original I know. We shot the entire film on an Arri SR-II camera, using Kodak 7217. There was a massive flutter in the gate for the bar scene and I learned a big lesson in camera movement. This was my first large narrative as a director of photography, and despite some learning kinks I got out of my system, parts of the film (mainly the design studio scenes) I am quite proud of.

The biggest lessons I learned on that first big attempt at the short 16mm narrative, is the importance of checking the gate and film movement, along with reading reflective light meter readings vs the incident. I discovered on that set, that I would forever be a reflective spot meter reader. I am a zone system junky, and love to plan an entire scene based off of reflective readings plotted on a zone system.

Enjoy some early work of mine!


Short Documentary: Hakim

Hakim: Documentary

I just came across my DVD copy of 'Hakim', a short (@7min) documentary I shot last year. Hakim is a traveling saxophone player who has quite the story. He is often mistaken as being a homeless panhandler despite his dressy casual apparel and uncanny musical ability. He is insulted when people give him leftovers or half eaten food because they assume he is homeless or jobless. Hakim simply enjoys a different way of living. He moves from town to town, city to city, state to state, playing for his living. It is his chosen lifestyle. He has been to college, played with many of the great jazz musicians of our time, and has seen the United States from East to West coast. It was great to meet him, and his musical skills are beyond most. Maybe you'll see him someday playing for whoever will listen.


Wachovia Commercial Contest: Current Vcam

Wachovia: Way 2 Save

Our SCAD Panna-Class needed a final assignment. We figured we ought to enter a contest if we were to shoot a commercial. A fellow student found this contest and we got to work with just two weeks until we needed to shoot the commercial. It was a sloppy race to the finish, but Talia and myself scraped locations just in time!

The shoot was demanding, and my 2nd ACing was pushed to the limits, but everyone came together and we made a commercial to be proud of! At times the odds looked heavy against us, but in the end the commercial came out really well.

Check it out HERE. Be sure to give it a vote, if the contest hasn't closed yet. Wish us luck!



Senior Showcase & 2008 SCADemies

Crazy happenings!

Exciting news! My college, The Savannah College of Art and Design, has announced the Spring Quarter Senior Show selections and have also nominated the top films picked for the annual "SCADemies" awards.

Spring Quarter 2008 Student Showcase

Every quarter students will complete their senior films and submit them as a completed senior project. Due to odd and sometimes complex reasons, SCAD does not offer every film a public screening at the end of the year, but instead the top films are chosen and shown at the quarterly Senior Showcase. This Spring Quarter, somewhere around 25 film and television students completed their student films. About 8(?) have been selected for the senior show, 12 or so total total counting the graduate films not mentioned previously.

Last quarter, all of these projects were in production. I came on board as Director of Photography for three of the 25+ projects: A Song for Anna, The Cows, and Kiss Goodnight. All three films were great experiences and all were so very different from each other which allowed me to explore different types, styles and approaches to cinematography.

All three films turned out great, and I have never been happier with student productions. I just found out this weekend that all three films made it to the Spring Quarter Student Showcase! I would like to congratulate Eli Katzoff, Baruh Benjamins, and Jason Zeni for their hard work and recognition.

The SCADamies

This horrible play on words is just what it seems: SCAD's annual student film awards. At the end of Spring Quarter every year, a panel of professors will select the best student films from over the course of the school year. There are multiple categories including Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Score, Best Editing, Best Costumes, Best Etc, Etc, Etc.

Each category has about five nominations, which will be screened at the Trustee's theater. This afternoon, I was very happy to find that I had been nominated for Best Cinematography for the picture A Song for Anna. I was also very pleased to see that it is also up for Best Editing (Jenna Craig) and Best Special Effects (Sandro Blattner).


Other films of note would be a film I also served as a cinematographer: Dan Dowding's Reflection. At the time I joined this film during preproduction, Alex Winter was on board serving as Director of Photography, and I really wanted to get in on the Escape Entertainment cinematography team. Dan and Alex were nice enough to believe in me and create a made up position called the Assistant Cinematographer. My made up position allowed me to work with Alex on designing lighting plans, helping to develop a shot list, and bring some ideas to the table. It was really great for them to let me get in on the creative process and contribute to the cinematography of Reflection.

Reflection is up for Best Director, Best Narrative, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Design, Best Special effects, and Best Editing. It's very tough to be up against such good friends, and a film you helped DP! The irony is hilarious, and if I were to lose to Alex, I would really be losing to myself, so I wish Reflection the best of luck for the Cinematography Award.

On that note, I would like to mention that not all awards can always seem fair. To state what is purely my opinion, a good friend of mine, Nathan Blair, the most talented DP in our graduating class, seemed to go over looked by the deciding committee, but not his peers. I heard many talk of his lack of nomination, and the penciled in writing of his name on the nominee sheets are proof enough of popular opinion. I want to put on the record that I think I would be in good company to be in competition with Nate.


Post awards addition to previous article:

Friday: As it turns out, A Song For Anna did not take first prize for cinematography, (Congratulations to Chris Flowers for On Homeostasis) but it did win for special effects. I was excited that it screened on a better projector (Lucas theater the previous night was a bit dark). Congratulations to Sandro for the win, and we will be sending A Song for Anna to festivals soon. In other news, the film Reflection won for Best Sound (Steve Papagiannis) and Best Director (Dan Dowding). Another film, My Deer Friend, on which I was the camera operator won best screenplay.


"My Deer Friend"

"My Deer Friend", a film by Andrew Dean Cherry, was selected by the 2008 deadCENTER Film Festival and screened in Oklahoma City, on 8:00pm June 8th 2008. If you are unfamiliar with the deadCENTER film festival, their goal is to:
"promote independent film arts. As filmmakers and film fans, we constantly work to bring independent films and independent filmmakers to Oklahoma City. So whatever your taste, you’re sure to find it here."
The film was shot by my good friend Nathan Blair, who did a great job. I served as camera operator, as well as providing the camera package. The shoot was quite hilarious considering the lead actor, Josh Jones, was opposite a 'puppitized' deer head. I have yet to meet one person who has not laughed helplessly at the awkward moments between boy and his best deer friend.


A Song For Anna: In the News

Ms. Blatty (first name slips my memory), a journalist for Connect Savannah, visited our production as we filmed the climatic storm scene in a local sand quarry. It was freezing and around 5am-6am (because I needed to shoot the scene before daybreak). Needless to say, she was a good sport, and joined us at Eli's house after wrap. After Eli's interview, we were all sitting around making small talk. She began telling us that her father had worked in movies. In the back of our minds we were all expecting another, 'my nephew goes to film school' or my brother 'works in hollywood' story. She continued to tell us that the screenplay he wrote didn't do so well at first, but when he turned it into a novel, it became a best seller and then everyone wanted his screenplay. It was at this time my attention and interest peaked. As it turns out her father is Academy Award winner William Peter Blatty. The last time I underestimate a 'I know someone in the industry' story!!!

Read her article, "15 Minutes of Apocalyptic Fun" If the article is no longer available, I have screenshots located below. Please click on them, and they should enlarge!


P.S: You should be hearing about this film in the upcoming months. The film 'A Song for Anna' had a phenomenal cast and crew. I am not going to break out in an academy award speech, but my gaffer Andre Danylevich, did an amazing job and Eli would always try to get me whatever I needed to get the job done. In the end, we have a movie that everyone can, and is, proud to be a part of. I'm sure you will hear more about this film in the future.

Middle of Knowhere, aka Creepy Country People Stills

I got footage!

Today a rare thing happened... an editor actually brought me footage I asked for! He is certainly the exception tot he rule (thanks Brandon). It is very difficult to get directors or editors to send you a final copy of the film once it has been made. One of the many headaches of a student film. The film's title used to be Creepy Country People but was changed to the confusing play-on-words, Middle of Knowhere. (Know-where combined, not Know-here)

This film was directed and written by Taryn Wright. I, alongside with Jon Tolliver, served as the films' Directors of Photography. Below are some screen shots taken from the quicktime video export given to me. No color correction has been done outside of the editing process. Please consult color bars for optimum viewing. Thanks!


Justina Carubia- "Formula" Music Video

Formula; Justina Carubia

An old roomate of mine contacted me about shooting a short music video for his sister, Justina Carubia, an independent singer/songwriter. The project was brought to me a bit last min, but it turned out pretty good. I had to steal the directors hard drive to get this less then presentable compressed video of the edit, although the quality is worse on her website.

This was shot in one day with minimal preproduction work. The main gem of this video is the 360 degree spinning camera glidecam work. From the stills below, much of the moving camera and dancing movement is lost, and that was what made the video worth watching. The film was edited and sent out despite my wanting to color correct it.

EDIT: (June 29th 2008) The director wants to sit down with me this summer and finally color correct! I'll be sure to replace pictures with new ones, and erase all this mumbo jumbo when I do.

Enjoy the stills,