Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lowe's "Chainsaw"

Producer/Director: Michael Leary
Writer: Dan Sorgen
DP: Derek Korogodsky
Assistant Director: Tony Lopes
Sound: David DeLizza
Key Grip: Daniel Innovate
Matt Kozar: PA
Make Up: Jessica Lembo
Behind the scenes Photographer: Matthew Salamone
Editor: Michael Leary
Colorist: Evgeniy Yavtushenko

Lowe's Spokesman: Jim Crumley
Lowe's Salesman: Leer Leary
Woman: Liz Chuday
Kid on Bike: Bennett McMullen 

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

I have always felt I was strongest in comedy, and as I developed my style I found myself influence by the Looney Tunes cartoons I grew up with. I always found that type of cartoonish violence funny, and it seems to influence my style in the scripts I choose and the style at which I direct them. When I read the script I instantly loved it and had a vision for it right away.

What was the casting process like?

I had actors that were interested in auditioning send me self-recorded auditions online. I was flooded by a lot of actors who put a lot of effort into their auditions with props and creative editing. It was difficult to narrow down the final choices but I ultimately went with my gut and I am VERY happy with the final choices made. 

How did you search for/lock a location?

The script ultimately had two locations, and the first one required a spokesman from Lowe's. I knew it was going to be a big challenge getting an actual Lowe's location to allow me to shoot inside for a spec, so I decided to shoot the spokesman in the parking lot of a Lowe's around the corner from my house gorilla style. I was able to shoot far enough away where any employees would most likely not ask questions or interfere. There was a time during the shoot where a Lowe's truck with employees stopped about 50 yards away and watched us for a minute. They eventually drove away to our relief. I think they may have thought we were shooting an actual spot or promo for Lowe's. By the time they came back to the store we were out of there.
For the second location, Matt Kozar who is always a PA on my shoots, offered his parents' house to me. Their house and neighborhood was exactly what I was looking for. 

How did you select your DP, crew?

The DP Derek Korogodsky is a friend of mine who has extensive experience in commercials, music videos, and short films. He is always on board to help me and expand his reel. We shot the spot on my Black Magic 4K production camera in DNG raw. 

The rest of the crew are good friends of mine who are all involved in  production and volunteer their time to help out on my spec spots. They are all very professional and bring a fun and positive vibe to set. On spec spots, I feel stress needs to be left at the door. With all of the pressures of productions for clients, I always like to be sure spec shoots are as fun and relaxed as possible. It always helps the creative process and ensures the cast and crew who are doing you a big favor will have an enjoyable experience.

How did shooting go? Any challenges?

The shoot was probably the smoothest commercial shoot I have ever done. There are usually challenges and issues on every shoot but this one stands out to me as one of the best. I think a big reason for the production going so well was the amount of time I spent on the pre-production process. Everyone knows how important pre-production is and how it can drastically affect the outcome of a shoot(especially with little to no budget). I made sure to plan it meticulously, which had a huge impact on the 2 days we shot.

Tell us about editing and finishing.

I transcoded all of the raw footage to Apple Pro Res and edited the spot in Adobe Premiere CC. Most of the sound fx we recorded on set and any remaining sounds were downloaded from a foley website I belong to. I had the spot colored by Evgeniy Yavtushenko, a Brooklyn-based editor and colorist. 

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

If I were to do anything differently, I would go back and create a treatment and have professional story-boards created. I story boarded it myself and as my crew will tell you, I am probably the worst storyboard artist of all time. :) Besides these two aspects, I am very happy with the entire process.

Any other thoughts.

I just want to thank Dan Sorgen for creating Spec Bank and for writing a great script. I also want to thank the cast and crew for helping to create a spot I am proud of.