Posts Tagged ‘Amy Anderson’

“The National Football League’s Super Bowl is not just the crowning glory of American Football. It is the Super Bowl of Advertising , the most watched, most anticipated, most expensive, most influential arena for major-television advertising.”
Bernice Kanner
The Super Bowl of Advertising

It’s estimated that 100 million people will be watching the Super Bowl this year. Of course, there’s a lot more going on than just football. In fact, you don’t even have to be a football fan to get caught-up in all the activities. Some churches even build their Sunday evenings around the big game by using their large screen projectors to show the game. Can stained-glass John Elway and Jerry Rice be far behind? (I’m afraid to Google that one.) Perhaps the culture war is over.

For the last couple years Doritos has sponsored a competition where anyone can submit a commercial with the winning ad playing during the Super Bowl. Since ads during that time usually cost around $3 million per thirty-second slot it was a bold move. But last years’ ad actually was rated higher by viewers and critics than many of the expensively produced high quality commercials. It’s one more link in the chain that is an indication of the direction that media is heading.

This year a freelance edited I use and his buddy wanted to compete in the Doritos ad so we spent a little time talking through ideas and I helped them flesh out a concept. A couple days later they shot and edited the spot and I was so inspired that I decided a day before the deadline to do one myself. I called a friend of my, spray paint artist Paco Rosic, and told him my idea and we shot it in two hours and it took me about two hours to edit. I was the entire crew and Paco’s girlfriend, Amy Anderson, was the additional talent.

Since I had little time (four hours) or money (under $10 for two bags of chips) invested in the little project. I wasn’t too disappointed that of the 4,000 commercials submitted this year that I didn’t make the top five. (Though the $25,000. each of them received, or the million dollar top prize, would have been nice.) But I’ll be watching tonight during the Super Bowl to which Doritos commercial(s) air. And I’ll take great solace in a couple friends who will tell me, “Dude, yours was way better than….”

But it was a good excercise in embracing your limitations and creating something. You never know where these things will lead. (Back in 2006 I produced a short video for Paco’s website and it ended up on the front page of Yahoo! for about an hour with a link to a news show they had back then called The 9 with host Maria Sansone. It landed Paco an appearance on Rachael Ray’s TV  Show.)

Keep in mind what you are about to see is the result of three people working half a day, not a production and advertising team if dozens of people and weeks or months of preparation. Let me know how it stacks up against the big dogs. (Best viewed in the 720p HD version.)

For those interested in the technical aspects, I shot it on a Panasonic HPX 170 P2 camera, 720p mode, Miller tri-pod, and two Arri lights  (a 300 fresnel and one open face 1K with a Chimera small softbox. Editing was done on Apple Final Cut Pro.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“I shoot video because it gives me freedom as a filmmaker to try new things.”
                                                                                                Mike Figgis
                                                                                                Leaving Las Vegas  

“Montage is conflict.”
Sergei Eisenstein 



Since my last post was on the six-word story, I thought it would be a fitting place to talk about the 48 hour film.

A couple weekends ago I made a film as part of The 48 Hour Film Project taking place in Des Moines, Iowa. Below the film titled “Heart Strings” I’ll talk a little about the process of making that film.

This is my third year doing The 48 Hour Film Project in Des Moines. The past two years my films have won best cinematography against the 35+ teams competing. This year I really wanted to take a shot at making the best film.

The first thing I noticed is in these sort of things comedy does very well so I had in mind that I’d make a film with a humorous angle. I also decided that I wanted to shoot in one location and be done shooting by Saturday morning. Local artist Paco Rosic (www.pacorosic.com) has a restaurant here and said we could shoot there after 10 PM. 

Then we had a handful of people that had agreed to be in the film if I needed them. My goal was to use only two or three people. I really was aiming for simplicity. On Friday night we drew romance as the genre we had to make and the idea of speed dating came to my mind in about ten seconds.

Which of course fit the talent pool I had gathered– a mix of men and one women. Paco ended up as one of the actors and not only gets the girl at the end of the movie, but he edited the film as well. He is a talented artist and who has a non-linear editing system in his loft near the restaurant.

You learn to go with the flow when you’re making a film in 48 hours. I had an editor and a DP both from Minneapolis who had to pull out of helping just days before the shoot so I was glad Paco wanted to take a stab at editing it. Local grip and lighting specialist Jon Van Allen decided he could help out and the film would not have been as good without him. He brought not only his talent, but his fully equipped grip trailer and an extra Panasonic HVX 200 camera.   

And then there is the lead actress Amy Anderson. This is a classic case of “do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” This was Amy’s first film, but I knew she could play the violin so that would play a part of the story. So she not only was on camera between midnight and 6AM talking to strangers, but she had to perform for the final scene after that. Thank you, Amy.

The entire cast and crew did a super job and it was an enjoyable and stress free shoot. I had written a loose outline of characters and some dialogue and then we just shot a lot of footage picking out the best performances that seemed to have the most conflict in the character Bridget’s search for Mr. Right. 

We turned in the film before the deadline and would have liked more time to tweak the audio–but it is a 48 hour film. Thanks to people lending their time, talent and equipment the total budget was less than 48 bucks. (Probably less than the average lunch for Matthew McConaughey on “Failure to Launch.”)

If you’re a screenwriter who’s never directed a film, events like this are perfect for you to try some new things. It’s also a good chance to let people who have little or no experience to get a glimpse into what it takes to make a film. Believe it or not, an all night shoot is a great introduction to the carnival of a life in the film business.

And if you’re ever driving through Iowa and looking for a unique restaurant check out  Galleria de Paco in Waterloo, Iowa. (The shooting location of Heart Strings.) How many places in the world can you eat shrimp and grits and look at a fantastic spray painted recreation of the Sistine Chapel?

Update: On August 14, The 48 Hour/Des Moines Awards were given out and my little film  “Heart Strings” won best cinematography and an honorable mention for best directing.  

Later that night US Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson from West Des Moines snagged a silver metal in Beijing. In one of those quirky timing things I drove by Johnson’s high school on the way to the Fleur Cinema where the top 12 48 Hour Films were being shown.

Johnson is one more reminder that Iowa is full of surprises. Check out her website that is hosted by my buddies over at Spin-U-Tech.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: