CLW – What is your production background like?
BR – I took a video class in high school but I never knew anyone who went to film school. By my last year of college I found myself spending all my time working on videos, plus I hated working in government. I started as a PA at a commercial / music video production company in 2009 and now I work full time as an Associate Producer at Wondros, a production company based in LA. Production is my job full time but the directing is still somewhere in between hobby & job.
CLW – You just scored a $12,500 1st place win from SpeedStick, which not only earned you some serious cash, but put you in the running for a Tongal Seasons win. That’s gotta feel pretty good right?
BR – Killer. I’ve never won anywhere close to that amount on a project so I’ve been in on and off celebration mode for a little while. And now seeing my name up on the Leaderboard has the competitive juices flowing.
CLW – How did you come up with the premise for the “Awkward Family Portrait?”
BR – That’s a case of art imitating life. My girlfriend was babysitting a few years ago and stumbled across a life size nude portrait of the parents in their bedroom. I was talking to her about a guy meeting her girlfriend’s dad in his office, which would be decked out like a hunting lodge and then she suggested the naked portrait.
CLW – How long did it take you to produce “Awkward Family Portrait” and what was your process like?
BR – The actual production was a lot of fun. Setup, shoot, and breakdown took about 10 hours. We took over an apartment and transformed it into the dining room you see on screen. I created the painting in After Affects & then had it printed out & framed.
We tried to emulate the overly dramatic look of the dinner scene from American Beauty and really play up the tension of the moment, pushing the hues warmer to heat up the scene. I have to give a lot of credit to the DP, Matt Roe, as well as Jeff Marlowe and Zach Salsman who were both really integral in crafting the light that makes the scene so intense. There’s a beautiful kind of halo behind the actors that they added that brings the scene to life.
We shot on a Red Epic. Conforming & coloring footage took a few days. Cast & crew all included, we had a 7-person operation going.
The wallpaper you see in the scene was kind of a last minute addition. We were trying to hang temporary wallpaper and it just looked terrible so Matt and I ran out to a few stores and found this sheet set that just kind of called out to us. So we ironed the sheets, pinned them to the wall and voila…
CLW – Were you nervous about the competition?
BR – I loved the idea that we had for this and I thought the cast & crew did such a great job that I really felt good about submitting. But then I got really nervous in the days and hours leading up to the announcement. I think this concept really works well for Speed Stick and there were a number of other submissions I thought could have easily taken the top prize for their execution.
CLW – What do you think of the Tongal Season? Are you more conscious of it now that you’re in the running?
BR – Absolutely. When I saw the announcement I didn’t think I had a shot to qualify and now that I’m in the running I’m working on pitches / videos for anything and everything that piques my interest.
CLW – What are some key factors you take into consideration when figuring out whether or not to participate in a project?
BR – The most important factor for me at this point is that I feel some sort of connection to the brand or brief and feel like I can bring something unique to the table. I was actually pretty reluctant to submit for SpeedStick because I don’t consider humor to really be my strong suit. If I have a take on the brief that I really feel strongly about then I’ll submit, otherwise I feel like I’m just wasting my time.
I’ve worked with a few sites like Tongal in the past and always felt like there was a lack of brand interaction that had me just throwing ideas at a wall and hoping something stuck. The fact that Tongal has committed to the concept / pitch / video model really put me at ease and helps me focus on production and execution without worrying as much if I’m even anywhere close to hitting the marketing message the brands are looking for.
CLW – How can people stay up to date with your world?
CLW – Anything else you’d like to add?
BR – It’s so hard to focus when you feel like you’re operating in a vacuum and there’s no confirmation from the brand that the idea is something that actually appeals to them. I feel like Tongal has really come in to it’s own in the last year or so. The site redesign really drew me back in and the introduction of the revision phase coupled with the pitch / video model is so key. Both the client and creator stand to gain quite a bit from these processes.
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