Friday, May 15, 2009

A Feature Film? No, A Feature Article! (Part 2)

Okay, so where did we leave off? Somewhere in Worcester, I believe.

2006 took On the Leesh back to Worcester, Boylston to be exact. During the summer, we shot our first feature, For Belly. We needed a beautiful suburban setting that would work for Franny's house. Catch - we didn't want to spend a lot of money. Shooting in NYC is great, but people have seen it all. Most places know the drill and require a big paycheck. In Worcester, there is still some mystery associated with shooting. They welcomed us with open arms.

After Nancy asked about growing up in Worcester, Nancy and I went on to discuss the way that I switch hats from our creative projects to our corporate videos. Not so ironically, our first corporate videos were for companies based in the Worcester Area. Sue Zecco's grooming shop, the Pampered Pet is in Paxton Massachusetts (Nancy knew her - guess Sue is more famous than just her Super Styling Session Fans!), and Premier Optical on Lincoln Street were our first clients. With a personal connection, Sue and Gary were wiling to take a risk on us while we were so green. Cut to May 2009. We've produced 23 videos for Sue with plans to shoot more this summer.

Back to changing hats - it's pretty seamless. We have final cut with all of our creative projects. With our corporate videos, we have clients. I have to say, it's nice to give up some control. We have been able to build a nice partnership with our clients. They trust that we will lend our expertise to anything, but use those skills to push their project further. Since we have so many open projects, we bounce back and forth frequently, and it's a nice and welcomed change of pace.

As the interview progressed, her questions shifted to a focus on making a living in the arts. To be honest, I feel a big pull between the necessities of business and the desire to make something artistic. When I'm wearing my pure editor, director or cinematographer hat, I focus on the task at hand - the "art," but as a producer my life is filled with numbers budgets and schedules. It's so easy to get caught up in the details rather than focus on the art itself. I spoke to Nancy about a job that I had in publicity when I first moved to New York. I worked for a much bigger company helping to organize events, promotions and publicity for films throughout the company. In addition, I worked the New York City premieres. It was easy to forget the "art" when you're booking $5,0000 plane tickets to have the actor cancel the press tour at the last minute due to "illness," when apologizing to a press panel when your actor is 3 hours late because he "over slept," or booking a hair/makeup artist that costs $11,000 just for your lead actress to step onto the red carpet. Don't get me wrong, I believe that publicity is invaluable -- without it, people won't hear about the project. However, it's easy to lose the art in producing.

Entertainment is important. When I step back and look at it, I know that the most important thing that we can is to create something that can help someone through their day, alleviate any burden, make things a little easier through laughter or escape. If we've done this, than we've done our job.

I remember Jess told me a story that her teacher John Logan told her in college. This story is I cling on to as I balance budgets and negotiate the cost of film stock.

Overall, I couldn't ask for a better interviewer than Nancy Sheehan. I look forward to seeing the feature printed. In a surreal act of fate, I will be home this weekend. (I'll be traveling to the Berkshire International Film Festival to represent our film Kung Pow Wow.) The T&G will be delivered to my dad just like every other morning for the past thirty years. I'm not gonna lie, as I pass the paper to my dad, it will make me smile.

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