Filmmaker Stories

Boundary Hunting :: Don Baker

Boundary Hunting :: Don Baker

A light-hearted exploration of what a boundary is. I may have embellished some of the wording in a few of the signs. And I may have exaggerated a few things here and there. Bucky Fuller never crushed anyone with a sledge hammer that I know of. The girl with the gun is based on a true story, as they say. The video was shot around Eastlake and Gasworks Park. The ocean was filmed at Malibu. The IPA was consumed on location in Bellingham. The motion graphics were prepared in Photoshop and created in After Effects. It was all assembled in Premiere Pro. Created for Seattle Minute Movies, July 2014.

Water Wizard :: Don Baker

Water Wizard :: Don Baker

This short video touches on the brilliance of Austrian forester Viktor Schauberger (1885-1958).
He is considered the first eco-pioneer, and was nicknamed the Water Wizard. From observing nature, he learned many of her secrets and put them to use in innovative and useful ways. Yet he remains unknown to most people. There are several fascinating books on him and his discoveries and machines, which include sophisticated diagrams. I believe he was a truly brilliant person and is comparable to inventors of the stature of Buckminster Fuller.

The hardest part of this video was trying to condense an immense amount of work into a few simple statements. The video was shot at Lake Quinault. I used simple water scenes with text to tell this, as his materials and photos are protected by copyright laws.

Time is the Interval :: Don Baker

Time is the Interval :: Don Baker

I am interested in the way we communicate the idea of time and time management, using symbols, icons, timelines and other structures to codify and organize around it in manageable ways. Yet as much as we adhere to structure and schedules regarding time, we also know that time is malleable, that the way we think about it affects the way we perceive it.

Although we know that time is now, our minds treat the past as real, and the I ching offers a window into possible future actions.

This video feels like a moving painting of vignettes more than a linear narrative, and perhaps that is fitting enough, considering that when we create, we look to the past while envisioning something yet to be formed, stretching linear time in both directions.

Details: Canon Vixia HF200, H2 Zoom audio recorder, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash, After Effects, Premiere Pro

The audio track is from iPhone ringtones.

Remember :: Hari Har Khalsa

Remember :: HariHar Khalsa

When I arrived home from our Seattle Minute Movies, Sunday evening, with our new topic, “remember,” for this coming month, I sat down to write brain-storming creative thoughts on “remember.” What came out that night was the poem.  I thought this is nice but what am I going to film? The idea came to me to film the poem in beatnik style on a black screen, hard lighting, visible microphone, and black clothing.  The black clothing was the next challenge for me because I didn’t own anything black and haven’t my whole life because of personal choices. The color doesn’t fit my lifestyle.  While entertaining my sister in law with the sites of Seattle I gathered the necessary props for shooting. Then the fun began.

REMEMBER

Am I in darkness or faded light?

Is it fog or the middle of the night?

Struggling struggling movement restricted

Vague oppression weighted twisted

Twirling St Christopher at the end of its chain

Praying for the help that I expect to gain

Looking for something I haven’t found

Hoping its not me buried with a frown

Concentrating, thinking, thinking going to provide

A calmness, a stillness inside

This conclusion delusion, runs as a song

Ringing inside of my head like a gong

Luckily, the Memory Gods have their own Division

Cleaning the De………..bri emerging Vision

I awaken, I remember

Enjoy, Hari Har

Sister Dreams :: Sarah Ferrier

Sister Dreams :: Sarah Ferrier

You know how when you have a dream and how you can barely remember the dream when you wake up, just some sort of feeling? I had no idea what the dream was going to be, just that I wanted it to be “dreamy”. A couple nights later I had this dream about getting a tattoo that my sister chose for me. I didn’t have time to find a tattoo shop for my location, or someone with tattoos for my actor, but my mom is an artist so I asked if she’d paint on me. The morning of the shoot I asked her to paint my arm, back and leg and she created the amazing art in the film.

In working on this one and the last one I’ve been learning how to direct a narrative piece. Doing a storyboard and coming up with the shoot schedule and directing the actors (or myself). The shoot and rough-cut didn’t take too long and then the rest of the week was spent playing with special effects and looks and blending layers off and on around work.

The final piece I feel like is very similar to an actual dream. Discontinuity, strange colors, never quite getting where you want, everyone else seeming to know how to navigate it normally.

I’ve taken the opportunity of Minute Movies to stretch myself as a filmmaker and try new things. One of the reasons I started this group was to give myself and fellow filmmakers a chance to practice their craft and experiment with new ideas. Constant practice is the best way to get better at anything. I know I need a deadline to keep myself honest about finishing projects and it seems other people do too. I’m excited to see everyone grow as filmmakers.

Remember :: Peter Feysa

Remember :: Peter Feysa

I always knew my father had a troubled childhood with the stories he would tell. This pain he feels haunts him, and of course as a film-maker, I wanted to explore his past with a simple on camera interview. He had no clue why I brought my film equipment to his house when I visited him this past weekend. That is until I took the camera out and asked him for an interview. He said no immediately, but after 20 minutes of conversation and encouragement, he was ready to tell his story. Being vulnerable with the most intimate of memories from your past, painful memories involving your loved ones, takes a lot of courage. To expose yourself in front of an audience can be excruciating, and he felt it right before the camera rolled. However, as the interview progressed, it not only got easier, but he was anxious to share more. Healing took place that night, and hopefully for the viewers who could mildly relate to abuse of any kind.

Filmmaker Stories :: Mark Davidek :: Blue Me

Blue Me

I tend to work quickly. Ideas pop into my mind and I work on putting the pieces together. With Blue Me, that’s what happened. The idea of going on a trip around the color Blue sprang forth and in an afternoon of creating and playing I put together Blue Me.

I took footage I had recently taken on a train trip to Portland, but I wanted a more surreal look so I played around with the images using the cartooning effect in my editing software. This lead to different colors and shapes, I left the sound of the train to add to the feeling of going somewhere. For the next few images I used a technique called Lens whacking, where you take the lens off your DSLR and move it to go in and out of focus and to let light in. I learned about this from Indy mogul (a YouTube channel). It gives the images of my paintings a dream like feel. Here are the un-whacked images of the paintings I featured:

Painting 1 Painting 2Painting 3Painting 4

 

The music I selected also helps propel the feeling of movement.

I really enjoyed this exercise in filmmaking and I am already mulling ideas on next month’s theme.

Hope to see you at the next Seattle Minute Movies screening.

 

Filmmaker Stories :: Peter Feysa :: Blue

Blue

I was originally going to make a short documentary for Blue but the man I was going to shoot backed out of the project last minute. So, I embarked on my incredible filming journey just 4 days before due date. I had no clue what I was about to be in for. I worked nonstop and finished two hours before it was due.

Here’s how it went:

Wed

I walked around the city contemplating the project listening to film scores on my iPhone. I started seeing images of a man holding his breath until he turned blue! I knew I had something but didn’t quite know what to make of it. I started writing the story and found myself struggling with connecting the dots. Didn’t want it to be an abstract nightmare for people to comprehend. I debated with the actor of the film until we came to a mutual agreement on how the story should unfold.

Thur

Planned a three hour shoot in the city with the actor and a one hour shoot at a park for the second scene. The actor showed up with ideas about how the film should have been shot which, by the way, was not in our original discussion. He wanted to bring surfing gear and a gift wrapped watch to the shoot and incorporate them into the film. “Kev…when did we talk about a watch?”,”well…it will help me emotionalize the script better.” At that point we were losing daylight and my blood sugar was low. We had yet to pick up my rented lenses from Glazers and rush hour was about to ensue. Plus…I had to meet my client 3 hours later. “Fine…let’s wrap the watch and hit the road. But you have to wear a suit!”

So, we picked up the lenses and reflector stand and went downtown to scout locations. Found the right street, set up the shot, and relief!  First shot of the day in the can. I can now relax into the shoot and have fun. Too much fun, that is. I get every angle possible in slow motion and regular speed and forget I have a whole other scene to shoot.

So, I Make it to the park with the reflector. Wait…the lady at glazers forgot to pack it. Rush the shoot! Light is going down. Kevin is freezing and was about to pass out after holding his breath for an hour. Wrapped! We had hot coffee and burgers and headed home for an all night edit. Have to make the morning deadline of a rough cut for the composer and our recording session.

How did that go? Perfectionist editor equals a night of instant Foldger’s and donuts, cakes and pizza. Somewhere around 4am I was satisfied. One second over two minutes.

Fri

Woke up to a power strawberry smoothie and cheeseburgers and enjoyed the sun outside the recording studio for ten min before Sierra showed up, (a young talented violin player), ready to play for the next 4 hours. I showed her the rough cut in the studio and she didn’t know what to say. And “abstract nightmare” came to mind. The sounds that came out of her instrument as she watched the film were ominous- a subtle mix of classic and horror. I loved it! Sushi welcomed us after our session. Friday night was a “sound extravaganza”. I kept kevin up for hours recording sound effects and his gasping sounds (yes, he held his breath again for an hour).

Went to bed at 4am.

Sat

Woke up early to color grade. Colored for the entire day.
Coffee and pizza and pastries.

Sun

Rendering. Exporting. Finally finished! Minutes later I emailed the link to a wonderful Sarah Ferrier.

Thoughts? I abandoned my need to tell a story to explore. Trying to be “good” all the time can lead you into a corner. Always trying to impress people with the same old picture. I like these minute films because you can allow yourself to experiment and go way out there. Can always pull yourself back if you go too far. And you’ll have discovered a new landscape of awareness and understanding of humans and film you never had before. Great adventure 🙂

Filmmaker Stories :: MK Barr :: Blue Wave vs Red Moon

Blue Wave vs Red Moon

I wasn’t going to do the first minute movie but everyone was having so much fun doing their planning that I couldn’t resist. Frank and I were walking around Lake Union when I thought about using a character I created a couple of years ago. I came up with a concept where it was to be kind of be like a Mexican wrestling match. One of the “wrestlers” was Blue Wave, the bear I created, and is based on a Japanese woodblock printer named Hokusai. I had to come up with a counterpart for Hokusai Bear and decided to base the opposite character on Hiroshige and a Red Panda which is a Japanese animal that looks more like a fox to me. .

It took 1 day to draw up Red Moon (Hiroshige Panda) and modify Blue Wave (Hokusai Bear) to be in the animation. I blended a lot of their original prints from tons of photographs I’ve taken over the years too. I created the stadium set and for the action I decided to put in the windows the corresponding background for the character winning. If it’s equal or close to a tie, there is a corresponding background for that too where I combine the backgrounds. I’m pretty sure most people miss that detail though.

The last 3 days of time were spent on coordinating the music, recording Frank’s voice overs and doing the actual animation. I started out in After Effects but it took forever to move anything so I finished it in Premiere Pro. I wish I would have done most of it in Premiere because it went quite a bit faster once I switched.

I originally wanted Blue Wave to win but I ran out of time on Saturday. By that time, I was pretty happy with it so I just left it. I also know how rendering can take way longer than you think so I had a cut-off time(ish) to allow for that.

I’m going to do a couple of re-matches when I have a chance as a friend suggested. Since most of the work is done, it should only be an afternoon or 2.

Thanks Sarah for having such a great place to play with video. I really appreciate having an event like this.