I Love Lansing Video Film Shoot

Some would say a giant lugnut is not noteworthy. Indeed, my DP dubbed it “incredibly underwhelming”, but it is one of Lansing’s claims to fame.

Thus is my challenge. If you google ‘World’s Biggest Lugnut’ Lansing Michigan will pop into your browser, along with a blog post from 2007 and pictures of this national marvel presiding over the local haunt The Nuthouse.

We have far more to offer culturally than a giant piece of hardware. Lansing has a wonderful underground artistic culture, unique entertainment options, and incredible people. Last Friday my team and I documented these on our first shoot for the I Love Lansing video.

The three of us strolled through REOtown and Old Town, braving the oddly cold August rain. My fiancé (and DP) drove me a hundred times up E Michigan Ave to get a shot of the Capital building at dusk. All of us shivered as drizzle hit us while standing on a Downtown street with our DSLRs.

We spread out at the Blues Fest to capture the essence of the event. We hung out in local coffeeshop, The Blue Owl, drinking specialty coffees and filming their unique aesthetic. We attended Speakeasy Stomp’s Friday dance night to catch locals rocking to oldies under a spangle of twinkle lights.

The video is not finished yet. In a week and a half, we will be shooting at The Loft, a local concert venue, Potter Park Zoo, Stober’s: The Oldest Bar in Lansing, and other hideaways that make Lansing great.

Lansing residents, I would love comments on visually engaging sites to put in the video. Everyone else, what would you like to see in a video about your town or city? How could I make it memorable?

 

I Love Lansing Film Project

I live in the most perfect place.

This is a simple fact. I grew up on a farm, but the city of Lansing was close which gave me the perfect combination of country and city life. Lansing holds a special place in my heart. It is the capital of my beloved Michigan, but is much more.

The city is diverse and beautiful, from crazy artsy REO Town to pristine and wealthy Okemos to college town East Lansing.

To honor my fair city, I have collected a small team to help me document its quirkiest and best spots in a travel-style video. The idea is to celebrate Lansing and bring business to its streets.

I am in pre-production mode, and will be posting updates as the project progresses. The final video will be release online in mid to late August.

Keep updated on the project on my social media accounts @directorista, or check in with the blog 🙂

Happy Monday!

Sassy Women Shooting

I forgot how much I love directing! I have not directed a major production since fall of 2015 (yay Death at the Opera!). This weekend, however, I had the privilege of working with a talented crew of people creating beautiful art.

Sassy Women is about Callie, a wild young thing with a tongue as sharp as barbed wire who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and stumbles through life with her head held high. Her landlord and housemate, Ellen, sees her potential and tries to invest in Callie, illiciting contempt. When a charming cowboy comes into the picture, Callie’s wayward path may lead her into despair.

I am very excited about this production. My actors and actresses are all extraordinarily talented. I am going to start cutting it tomorrow and can’t wait.

Here are some pictures from the shoot:

 

 

Film Noir Shoot

My latest project, which I’m very excited about is a short video I am completing for one of my last film classes. My original plan was to film a short in a car, but underestimated the difficulty of doing this without a steady cam. Due to time constraints, I threw together a quick film noir using my sister and fiance as talent. It was so much fun to experiment with this film style.

Sequence 01 Copy 01.00_00_08_20.Still001Sequence 01 Copy 01.00_00_51_08.Still007Sequence 01 Copy 01.00_00_42_11.Still006Sequence 01 Copy 01.00_01_29_22.Still012

Current Project: Alyona’s Eyes

Read my previous post on Alyona’s Eyes here.

Alyona’s Eyes has reached the editing phase. The Soviet-themed movie has come out to be roughly twenty minutes of intense footage. I have been working with the writer/director/editor (Christian Yonkers) to help him finish up the rough cut. He has truly impressed me with his quick editing abilities. The score was just finished a couple days ago, so we are shaping up to be done in time for the premiere at SAU’s Will Shoot For Credit event.

The link to watch Alyona’s Eyes will be posted soon, as well as an update on its reception at the event!

In Process: Alyona’s Eyes

Eleven and a half hours of on-set duties, not counting clean-up and set-up of scenery was what I did with my weekend. On Saturday and Sunday I was privileged to help out on the shoot of Alyona’s Eyes, a film set in Soviet Russia.

This film is being produced out of Spring Arbor University’s short films class, a production group affectionately named  Will Shoot For Credit. I have been along for the whole process, helping edit the script, brainstorm locations, assembling sets, and, finally as of this weekend, fulfilling my role as primary Assistant Director on the shoot.

My duties on set were typical for an AD: keeping the crew on schedule (we started late due to missing tripod plates but ended early so I feel accomplished), ensuring that the director received sustenance throughout the day, and tracking our progress on our shot sheet.

Alyona’s Eyes was written and directed by Christian Yonkers. Christian works for a newspaper company out of Hastings and is an accomplished writer. This was the first film that he directed, and, ironically, was one of the most complicated films produced by Will Shoot for Credit. The shoot went off smoothly, however, and I am looking forward to the final project.

I will be posting a link to the video once it is premiered, so keep an eye out for more info on Alyona’s Eyes!

15057881_10209666079561994_1949181143_n

Part way through the construction of our Soviet office. One of our KGB officers and our costumer/props mistress/extra having fun.

15086415_10209666080682022_1513880912_n

Inside our interrogation room.

Forget Me Never – Marjorie Yarmer

Charming, even in a wheelchair, Marjorie Yarmer presented herself as a delightful focus for an assignment for my film directing class at SAU. Marjorie was a talented teacher, and incredibly learned, holding multiple degrees. While suffering from dementia when I met her, she still offered a startling display of vivacity and clarity.

Before I conducted the preliminary interview, my idea was to focus in on a specific aspect of Marjorie’s life – namely, her romantic journey. I always love hearing the older generation wax eloquent about their high school sweetheart or the person they fell in love with and spent decades married to. However, upon talking to Marjorie I discovered that she had never married. Nevertheless, I still found my love story.

This was the story of a mother-daughter bond which was so incredibly strong that they lived together until her mother passed away. By the end of my informal interview, it was clear that I had found the focus of my project. I’m a big fan of Gilmore Girls, but this relationship even rivaled Rory and Lorelei’s. As Marjorie spoke about her mother, I felt deep respect admiration, and heard of a woman who knew how to make sacrifices for the well-being of her children.

Besides being a teacher, Marjorie also had a painting hobby and the portrait of her mother featured in the piece was painted by Marjorie.