Director David F. Sandberg has always had a passion for horror and sci-fi films. Though his résumé includes a variety of animation, documentary and short form drama projects, horror and sci-fi have always been the end goal.
I've learned quite a few lessons throughout the course of my career in commercial production. And many the hard way. But you live -- you learn, and such is life. Perhaps the most important I've learned is how to surround myself with professionals who work on other high-profile projects all the time.
We all want to work on films and commercial productions where we have the budget and the creative that allows for casting calls, talent agents and professional actors to deliver inspired performances. But in reality many creative concepts these days call for "real talent," another way of saying using real people vs. professional actors. After years of experience working with and without professional actors as talent, I have found that despite having non-pros as actors, you can still evoke great performances. In fact, when a good directing job is achieved, you may find the real-person performance is the most authentic, from-the-heart acting on camera. And if anything, directing non-professionals is great practice in a more forgiving environment for your directing skills.
Whatever happened to the inclusive attitude of "Strong enough for a man but made for a woman?" This "manly" ad for Dr. Pepper is part of a trend also taken by advertisers like Old Spice and Miller Lite in recent years to use hyper-masculenity to sell products. And of course, this tactic seems to work, but the overt messaging is controversial. Which begs the question, "Where do you Draw the Line?"
So you're a Director or Producer who trolls on Vimeo for creative ideas and inspiration. After weeding through a gazillion time-lapse and steadicam videos, you've hit on a school of ridiculously beautiful aerial shots. You keep telling your creative inner self, “We’re gonna find a place for this scene in a project!” Then the perfect project rolls around, and you put the shot into the storyboards and base another 3-4 shots on this visual hook because the ideas is so awesome. And you're super stoked. Then the Buzzkill happens...
by featured blog contributor, Jeremy PinckertSometimes when I’m in the thick of pre-production on a new television advertising spot, I’m tempted to put all of my emphasis on the obvious questions: Who will be the cinematographer? What camera system will we use? What casting decisions need to be made? Who the hell can convert my scribbles into a real storyboard?There’s a step often left out of the above question process, but one that, as a Director or Producer, does have a significant effect on your picture. In fact, this step is the first point of contact between the enigma of a performance and the camera.
by featured blog contributor, Jeremy PinckertIf you thought that joke fell flat, welcome to why most people who think they can produce "Funny", at best usually only make "Kinda Cute". Or at worst, make "My Friends Think It's Hilarious." This means you and your friends are the only ones laughing. The even worse version of the last option, "My Mom Thinks It's Hilarious", needs no explanation.Learn tips on how to direct comedy, and get real laughs in the process.
by featured blog contributor, Jeremy PinckertYou’ve collaborated on the storyboards, you've charmed on the conference call, you've nailed the pitch, and now you've won the job! It's Monday morning, and for once you're actually looking forward to making the harrowing commute...Starbucks is pulsing through your veins and you're ready - no you're stoked - to embark on that big-brand TV shoot. And then your phone interrupts your pump-up music on the BPM channel. Your apologetic producer is on the line and gently breaks the news: you don't have the money in the budget for that gorgeous steadicam shot you built into the boards. The steadicam shot that left you so inspired to direct this project in the first place. The buttery smooth eye-pleasing delicacy you were going to build your reel around. Options quickly flood into your brain: You could cash in the 401k, or even worse, call in favors from those famously curmudgeonly, hard-working steadicam operators just to get a shot like the famously long, intricate, and beautiful steadicam shot in Martin Scorcese's "Hugo" below:
above: Chicago-based AD Stephanie Clemonsby featured blog contributor, Jeremy PinckertAs the Velvet Underground famously sang, “I’m Beginning to See the Light.” Or at least a recent project I was slated to Direct forced me to turn my eyes even more towards a light to which I’ve already been headed. Irregardless, now that I’ve had a look? I ain’t ever going back. Our client, Go RVing, needed a wide-range of marketing video content for Broadcast and Web use, and they brought me in to direct a 4-day shoot on Michigan’s West Coast. The first day was all interviews with actual users telling their unscripted stories to camera. The second and third days involved shooting eight different scenic broll situations with 20+ talent members in various camping situations. The fourth day was a practice in planning, logistics, and highway patrol as we shot seven vehicles on a large stretch of a US highway, through rolling vineyards and driving on wooded country roads.
by featured blog contributor, Jeremy PinckertIn working as a director and also as an owner of a video production company for 10 years, there are many different categories of relationships I have experienced. There is the all-crucial client relationship. Then there’s the relationship between collaborating colleagues. There is a certain dynamic between myself and staff employees. And finally, there is the relationship I develop with vendors and freelancers. This last relationship with freelancers is one I want to look at from the perspective of my experiences from both sides of the coin.