So I get a call from Michael Stoner who’s created a new advertising shop here in Boulder Year One. Michael’s got a non profit client that has a GREAT story to tell – The Denver Metro Boys and Girls Club. Michael is an experienced Ad Man who’s got an account/brand management and strategy background with major accounts in all the big markets: NYC, LA, SF and Minneapolis. It’s great to have him and his family now in Boulder. Plus he’s a climber! Michael explains to me that he has an exciting project and shows me a script that is really QUITE dialogue heavy. He tells me they are looking to use actual Boys and Girls Club members to perform the sides. The writer is Sunnee Hoppe. Unlike most spots where the talent might say a line if they are lucky, Sunnee’s script told a rich story of each kid on two very divergent tracks. One positive and one very negative. The point was that the Boys and Girls Club makes a profound difference in kids lives.
I really liked this idea and I volunteered to be in on the casting because I knew that only a certain kind of kid would be willing to stretch to perform these tales of woe and the tales of success. To be honest, I also volunteered to spend three days on the casting because I knew that director’s chair would a very lonely place on the shoot day without the precisely right kids in front of the camera. Doug Millington and I bid the job to include an ACamera Rental Sony F55. I knew that I needed to have the kids look right down the barrel of the lens and for that I turned to Eye Direct and their mirror device which would allow my live face to appear on the lens reacting, coaching as the kids delivered their lines. Eye Direct is basically a teleprompter that allows the director face to appear “on the lens” for the actor to relate to. See below. The other thing I knew is that as a camera person I was going to be busy with these novice actors so with the F55 camera we shot at 4K, which would allow our great LA editor Brad Wetmore to push in from our Medium Close Up master shot to make cuts. No fusing with the lens during the takes. Just a clean shot we could blow up and reposition as we liked. The blow up in 4K could be done to almost 200%. That is a game changer! This to me is a major advantage of using the F55. Another thing I sensed is that we needed some still images of these kids to set up their emotional framework so I brought my still camera to the set and my trusty AC Caleb Tkach. After three days of working with and developing a strong rapport with kids – we had our six actors.
Bottom line: I was so impressed with the Boys and Girls Club as an institution and for the quality of kids I was meeting. If you want to support something real then send your love to The Denver Metro Boys and Girls Club. I was simply inspired by the kids we meet during the casting process. On the shoot day we had Chris Gerding as our rock steady and highly talented gaffer. We had fun studying Noir lighting schemes and bringing the dark side to life. Gerdo operated the camera with the 85mm Ultra Prime as I was sitting next to the lens with my face in the Eye Direct mirror steering the kids along. Doug Okane was our Assistant Cameraman and just having his professional demeanor on the set is always appreciated and he knew how to turn on the brand new Sony F55 which delivered a great image btw. Mitch Stelling and Tony Thomas were our A-list grip guys and the top Denver mixer Bob Abbott was on sound. Nathan Berry-Chaney was our highly capable Digi Tech. We used two sets 180 degrees from each other so we’d just spin the camera to get to our next set. On one set we had a black seamless the other a white seamless. Cindy K Cruz and her daughter Lia Mazzei (whose dad is a great DP) were on set transforming o d a fabulous and very heartfelt performance. My hat is off to them and the Boys and Girls Club because everyday they make Denver kids lives better. It was an honor to be involved. Paul Thompson was the unshakeable agency producer, Sunnee Hoppe creative director/writer. Doug Millington was the producer/AD. Jesse Carmichael provided an inspired musical score and it was so nice of him to devote his talent to this cause. Thank you son!
PS: Last night at a fully decked out Centennial Airport hanger this film was debuted in front of 1500 people who were certainly some of Denver’s top movers and shakers. The community in Denver truly understands the value of the Boys and Girls Club. John Elway and Wes Welker were in attendance at this spectacular fundraiser put on by Cuvee Escapes Surrounded by high end aircraft and automobiles and some of Denvers’s most beautiful people, the communities appreciation for the The Boys and Girls Club was on full display. It was a wonderful tribute to the Club. The creative team from Year One and our Carmichael Productions, Inc. team were all smiles.
Here are some images from behind the scenes and the manner in which we conveyed the two tracks our kids could take. You get the idea. This spot will soon be under my Directors Reel menu on this site.
You can see this Boys and Girls Club spot here.
Behind the scene Images by © Caleb Tkach
Portraits by ©bobcarmichael.com
Best regards, Bob