Sunday, May 14, 2017

Los Angeles Trade Tech "The Artist"

Click here to watch.


Director: Chris Campbell 
Writer: Jedd Levine 
DP: Mike Reyes 
Producer: Ian Feiner & Rob Roth 
Starring: Michael Taber, Jake Jacobson, Chris Martin, Ying Sayun

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

This script stood out to me because, in a way, it was exactly what I was looking for and I could immediately see how it would play out visually.  Also, I audibly laughed while reading the spot and that's very rare for me (often it's just a huff and a chuckle.)  I attribute that to the absurdity of the spot, and I just respond the best to commercials in that realm.  

What was the casting process like?

The casting process was luckily very easy in the way that we were searching for looks rather than dramatic delivery or anything like that.  So I wanted unique and quirky looking (vs drop dead handsome or beautiful) characters that really looked the part so that they'd just inhabit this timeless bullpen we shot in.  Luckily again, everyone clicked in with the treatment and script and got exactly what I was going for.  Made for a very easy and fun day.

How did you search for/lock a location?

The location I had actually shot on before (or on some of their other sets) down in Anaheim at Silverdream Factory.  So because I knew the staging of that location and knew that I could afford it, that actually really helped me pick this script and be confident that I could pull it off.

How did you select your DP, crew?

The crew and the DP are all friends of mine and we've been doing music videos or styles that were not always taking us in the direction that best suited us.  So the core crew I really approached with a question of "Let's do something that really excites us again."  For myself that was the most important thing that had me motivated through directing it, doing the production design, picking up equipment, etc etc.  But additionally, I was certainly asking them to really help me out and (because we've been friends for some time) they obliged for little or no money at all.

How did shooting go? Any challenges?

Shooting went great actually.  Though our one mini crisis turned out not to be in the end.  Our main actor had to run to a callback – mid shoot – and then got stuck in traffic on the way back.  So we shot out his wide coverage and anything involving whole arms or face then let him go.  Then I had the makeup gal cover up my tattooed arm and I did all the close ups of the paint brush against the canvas.  That ended up being extremely streamlined because the DP and I would set up the shot and just roll without having to literally micro direct brush strokes.

Tell us about editing and finishing.

Editing and finishing were where the shoestring budget ended haha.  I edited the whole piece, which is one of my favorite parts, and then my DP and I colored the spot.  And coloring is the bane of my existence.  I don't know how colorists do it.  But overall, post went well since I shoot for the edit on set.

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

I think I would have not used the haze machine in hindsight, haha.  Old habits.

Any other thoughts?

Final thoughts: I'm very happy with it.  I got to spend the time to make something I was genuinely excited about without having to rush at all.  In the past, I've crammed two different 30s spots into one day and they really did both suffer in one way or another.  I'm very happy to be able to share this one with as many people as I can.