Director: Kade Atwood
Writer: Dan Sorgen
DP: Sam Sargeant
1st AD: Josh Contor
Production Designer: Mitchell Richmond
PA: Erin Gibson
Robot Op: Chris Workman
Robot Tech: PJ Hale
Gaffer: Trenton Davis
Key Grip: Maya Kendall
Grip: Vincent Pelina
Grip: Max Wenham
HMU: Ariel LaFontaine
Wardrobe: Amelia Kuhlmann
Set Decorator: Joe Adumson
Set Dresser: Erik Butts
Set Builder: Elise Fralick
VFX: Tarik Saran
Colorist: Drew Tekulve
Sound Design: Brenden Taylor
How much did production cost?
I’m happy to say everyone was paid. I think that’s really important. If I’m asking people to invest in my career, I should be willing to invest in theirs. We focused favors on materials and equipment.
Why this script/concept? How does it reflect your vision as a commercial director?
I read this script a couple years ago and immediately had a vision to show the destruction in a single continuous shot. I didn’t have access to the gear to produce it so I sat on it for a bit. One skill in particular I developed for this project was using Unreal Engine to create pre-vis. I mocked up the entire shot and was able to show the crew exactly what I wanted. It also helped me realize pitfalls I wouldn’t have otherwise seen until production.
What was the casting process like?
As usual, I try to cast people I’ve worked with before. Bryson and Dalton I’d worked with on a commercial and TV show respectively. And the rest of the cast were friends of the crew.
How did you search for/lock a location?
We shot at Enigma 3 Studios. They’re incredible and I’ve frequently worked with them on other projects. A real hotel room was briefly considered but that idea was quickly discarded.
How did you select your DP, crew?
Again, just people I always work with. Except the gaffer, Trenton. He’s one of the most sought after gaffers. I’ve probably asked him to work on 20 projects prior to this one but he is always booked. Luckily we shot in January and he was finally available. And yes, he’s as great as everyone says!
How did shooting go? Any challenges?
It went surprisingly well. We had one prep and one shoot day. If I hadn’t mocked it up in Unreal beforehand, it would’ve been a two day shoot. One of the biggest challenges was shooting at 1,000fps because it requires SO MUCH lighting. We kept asking the studio to add these lights and those. Finally, they just brought over all their lights and said “use what you need.”
Tell us about editing and finishing.
The single continuous shot is actually five shots stitched together. In theory it was going to work but I’d never done some of the transitions before. Luckily it all worked!
One of the big issues I ran into was the pacing. The robot shot is so dynamic and cutting from that to these slower static shots was a bit jarring. In retrospect, I wish we’d utilized some fun transitions to keep the tempo up throughout.
In retrospect, is there anything you would have done differently?
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 came out this weekend. There’s this incredible action sequence in a hallway that plays out as a continuous shot. Watching it I realized a mistake I made. Most of the slow motion moments in my spot occur as the camera is accelerating into or decelerating out of a move. The slow motion beats should occur while the camera arm is at its peak speed. This way the camera has more motion. But now I’m excited for the next robot shoot because I know EXACTLY how to make it look as cool as possible!