Thursday, April 4, 2013

Amdro "Anti-Ant Rant"


Director/Producer: Dan Kowalski
Writer: Shiraz Gani
DP: Ashley Dupree
Sound: John Carter
Talent: Jennifer Jiles
Original Music: Nathan Steinke 

Why this script/concept? How does it reflect your vision as a commercial director?

What attracted me to this script's concept was the fact that it is completely dependent on the actor's ability to act in order to sell the idea. I'm always trying to improve my craft and one of the things I've been working on for the past few months is directing actors. I've been participating in work shops and I saw this script as a great opportunity to practice my skills while adding to my reel.

What was the casting process like?

For spec work my strategy is to save money by spending more time in pre-production and one of the ways I keep costs down is to not use a casting director. Plus, I personally love being involved the casting process from the beginning because it helps me discover more about the characters who right now only exist on a printed page.

I post casting notices on several websites and then I narrow my choices down by who looks right for the role, then I take a look at their resume to see their experience and training. From there I invite the actors who I feel might be best to come and audition.

There are two things I look for in an actor when the audition. The first is what they bring to the role on their own without direction and the second is how they take direction from me. Do they engage, understand, and collaborate or do they pretend to understand and give the same performance again? It's very important to figure this out now rather than on the set when time is very valuable.

For this project I narrowed my choices down to 10 actors who came in to audition. Jennifer was the very first person to come in and she knocked it out of the park.

How did you search for/lock a location?

For this shoot I used my apartment so I was able to save time and money by avoiding the location scouting process.

How did you select your DP, crew?

Ashley and I met on a music video we worked on together a couple weeks before this shoot. John was a recommendation through a friend. 

How did shooting go? Any challenges?

Shooting went pretty smoothly. It took us a little while to get the performance and lighting perfect but once we did we were on a roll. The only main challenge we really had was some sound issues during a couple of takes. I live next to rail road tracks.

Tell us about editing and finishing.

The editing was pretty straight forward. We shot three set ups but with cropping the HD image in a few takes I was able to make it look like I had more coverage. 

One creative challenge we did have was music. Shiraz and I wanted to have music that sounded patriotic to help enhance the spot's misdirect. But we didn't want a tune that was easily recognizable and on the nose. This problem was solved by composer Nathan Steinke. He created music that was completely original and yet sounded familiar.
In retrospect, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have hired a script supervisor. There were a couple good takes where small details, like the wardrobe's position, didn't match. Although I'm very happy with how this came out, there were a couple takes I couldn't use because of continuity issues.

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