Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dollar Tree "Range"


Director: Paul SG Boyd
DP: Jarrett Craig
Writer: Dan Sorgen

Why this script:

When I first signed up with the Spec Bank, I combed through all of the available scripts and found about 10 I thought I'd like to shoot. Then I let a bunch of people whose opinions I respect, (in particular my father, who formerly owned two advertising agencies, and was a freelance copy writer for many years [he's one of the lousy golfers in the BG]) have a read of the scripts I'd selected and make their choice. The two favourites were this spot, and the Virgin Mobile Construction spot.
There were several reasons I decided to make this spot, but the main one was that I love comedy with a reveal. Almost all of my comedic spots leave you guessing what the product might be until the very end, when it's all tied in. The Dollar Tree spot fit with that perfectly.

Casting process:

I actually put this shoot together very quickly, so the casting process was very non-traditional. The golfer in the spot is a brother of a friend, who had approached me months before saying he wanted to be an actor and that he'd done some theatre stuff. I liked his look for this spot, and he's one of the best golfers I know, so he seemed like a good fit.

The location:

This was pretty tricky. As I'd said before, I put this together in a very short amount of time. I was in Calgary, Alberta for a couple weeks, even though I now am living and directing mostly in Toronto. I called up all of my connections, and got the crew and gear together, but fell short on a location. Finally, I just started cold calling golf courses. Most were't thrilled at the prospect of us smashing dollar store items everywhere, but eventually a guy from The RCGA course in Calgary got in touch with me, and said that he'd let us shoot in exchange for some of the footage. We actually shot some extra stuff for them to use for whatever they please. It will have worked out pretty well for them, since we shot on Red and had a full lighting and grip package.


Even though I'm now focusing on Directing, I'm an IATSE union member in Calgary and Toronto. It's worked out fairly well for me, because I've filled the gaps of my directing work with a good paying, sporadic job, and all of my work friends are professional film people. With a few phone calls, I'm usually able to put together a crew with an impressive set of resumes.
Jarret Craig, the DP, is the second unit DP on the TV series Heartland, and has shot several projects for me. He's great.


Our actor showed up an hour late, so that was a bad start for a guy that's new. Also, the course is right next to a gravel pit. We scouted on a weekend, so it was quiet then, but we shot on a weekday. The sound was an issue from start to finish.


I looked around for an Editor and Colourist, but couldn't find anyone free, so I took it on myself and handed the sound off to a freelancer. We shot in 4K on the Red One. I then edited in Premier and did most of the effects and colour in After Effects, since I learned that you can work directly with R3D files, with no conversion. This is true, but if I were to do it over again, I'd just basically colour correct the raw footage, then down-convert to a more manageable file size. Working in 4K is a time killer. It's totally unmanageable. 


As I'm getting more work as a Director, I'm finding that time is always an issue. That said, I would have loved more time in the planning stages to round up an editor and tighten everything up; however, sometimes you have to sacrifice the things you want, in order to complete anything at all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 "Music"

Click here to watch.


Director/Executive Producer - Michelle Vine
Writer - Jamie Levy
DP - Richard Vialet
Colorist - Eric McClain
VFX/Graphics - Daniel Bury
1st AC - Tanner Stauss
Gaffer - Dan Schmeltzer
Key Grip - Chad Pelsang
Art Director - Allison Fry
Sound Mixer/Sound Editor- Garrett Barnett
Hair/Make-up - Sabrina Sanchez
Production Coordinator - Jack Waite
Art PA - Tabitha Adams
Craft Service - Linda Lubuga
Site Rep - Vera Kaprielian

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

The reason I chose this script was that there was very much a feminine
empowerment as well as a normality that I believe all women went
through when it came to dating. Then also, I'm a big fan when it comes
to using thematic or memorable songs that you saw from films or tv in
the past and that as a director you get the chance to make and relive
those songs in a different format and have it shown to a newer and
even older generation.

What was the casting process like?

I was fortunate to have a good cast that knew what I was looking for.
They understood the concept of the script.

How did you search for/lock a location?

Like everyone else who can't afford a locations manager or locations
service company, craigslist. lol

How did you select your DP, crew?

Lately, I've been working with DPs from AFI. That school produces good
DPs. I found Richard, who is a AFI alumni, on AFI's site where the
alumni's keep in contact with the conservatory. But really what made
me choose him was based off of a feature film he did and he used the
Sony F3 which I was eyeing to use.

How did shooting go? Any challenges?

I think the shooting went smoothly especially that we were up against
rain and limited resources. The real challenges were pre-production
and the post-production.

Tell us about editing and finishing.

The editing I did myself on FCP. I always wished to give it to someone
who is an editor because you never know what they may surprise you
with, but when you go over budget there's rarely any money to hire
anyone that is passionate and experienced at the same time. But I was
lucky to hire an experience colorist from the industry that gave me a
great deal.

In retrospect, is there anything you would have done differently?

There are so many things that I could of done differently, and as a
director you're never going to get the same outcome that you visioned
before shooting it. But overall, I tend to keep those thoughts to
myself and just learn from it.