Short Films Coming Soon!

I guess it's becoming a running theme about the consistently of my blogging... Finally getting around to updating my site and cleaning things up a bit. Have a few projects that are finishing up right now: One commerical, and two short films. One of those shorts is completed, but circling the festival circuit. We'll see if we get any nibbles but until then, I can't post if online unfortunately. The other should be getting done in the next month or so and I should be sharing that right away with you all. Also the commercial project is a short series of videos that we were able to really play with creatively. Really excited to share those. Stay tuned. 

Cheers and Hugs,

james

Two Videos in One Post!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

2015 has been a good year for projects and adventures! I have two pieces I want to share with you all. The first is a piece I did for Chex Party Mix that is filled with holiday fun. This really was an incredible experience for me. We had very little time to build, create, shoot and edit this piece and I could not be more happy with what my incredible crew was able to do. We were under the gun from the very beginning and everyone rose to the challenge. We had to shoot this in one day which was challenging, frustrating, exhilarating and strangely liberating in a way that I didn't expect. Because we all knew what we were up against, that brought us together as a crew fighting against time. I am so happy with what were able to pull off and the client was happy too which is always a good thing! Check it out below!

The second piece we are just releasing today officially. If you remember my post about my time in Mali, here is the final product! Common Pastures is the non-profit who sent us and they were blown away by the final video which I was relieved by! I knew little to nothing about the country of Mali and really what was needed from me. So the whole time, I was just sort of hoping I was getting what was needed! Thankfully it all worked out and we should still have enough footage to make even more content for them. Check it out below and please check out commonpastures.org to learn more about the project. 

Thanks for all the support this year! Here's to a great 2016!

Cheers and Hugs,

james

 

The Ice Cream Man

Hey All,

I am so happy to finally be releasing this! It's been a long time coming and it's finally here. This is my first short documentary I have directed. The Gallivan family has been so kind to let me into their lives to tell this story over the past year. I hope you all enjoy their story.

Cheers and Hugs,

james

My 2 Weeks in Mali

Hello all,

I got back on Sunday from spending two weeks in the southern region of Mali, Africa in the capital city of Bamako shooting and producing video content for a USAID project. My girlfriend Ashton and I went as volunteers and were the first people they had sent with a mission of capturing other volunteers teaching in rural villages. We had to figure out without any guidance or knowledge how to create a meaningful story or impactful video that will show the country and the projects that volunteers are working on. The goal of the volunteers was to help show them best practices to raise and maintain sheep and goat herds. You can learn more about the project here: 

http://commonpastures.org/

So Ashton and I sat down before leaving to create something of a plan knowing full well that the plan could get thrown out as soon as we set foot in country because we left without knowing what to expect.

I won't detail everything but just some main highlights that pushed me professionally and some of the things I learned that will make me a better filmmaker moving forward. 

Now first of all, I don't shoot very often... Really ever anymore.

But for this, I was a one man band. I had to shoot with a camera I really had no personal experience shooting with and capturing audio myself while trying to conduct interviews with many people who didn't speak english. I was completely out of my comfort zone on every level which was awesome and terrifying all at the same time.

I can't think of a time that I was responsible for so many different aspects of production completely on my own without support within reach if need be. Now of course Ashton was with me, but she had her own marketing assignment for this project. She had to soak up her own knowledge to write her report and make an assessment of the project. We would write up and go through the interview questions together and she would ask the questions to our interviewees which was very helpful, but often that left me holding the boom pole over the camera and monitoring the frame at all times to make sure they stayed in focus, I didn't dip the mic into frame and that the lighting didn't change dramatically. A few times, I would hand the boom pole to our driver Momoussa or our translator Michael (pronounced Michel) which was interesting trying to explain at a very basic level what I need. 

 Myself and Ashton after our last village trip of our journey. Michael, our translator on the left and Momoussa, our driver on the right. 

Myself and Ashton after our last village trip of our journey. Michael, our translator on the left and Momoussa, our driver on the right. 

 Momoussa holding the boom pole for an interview. He would do a great job holding the mic still and had a good sense of where the mic would float to stay out of frame. Although one time his cell phone rang and I had to scold him. 

Momoussa holding the boom pole for an interview. He would do a great job holding the mic still and had a good sense of where the mic would float to stay out of frame. Although one time his cell phone rang and I had to scold him. 

Something very fun and unexpected was how much Momoussa and Michael learned about the process of shooting. They were with us virtually everyday driving us around and Momoussa would have to unlock the car for me every time I needed to grab an accessory or lens. He would always watch me unpacking my bag and setting up the camera. Near the end of the trip, I would just hand him cables and the microphone and he would know where it goes and how it all gets put away. We didn't speak the same language, but we had a non-verbal understanding of parts of the filmmaking process which was really amazing.

I shot for 10 of the 13 days we were in country. It was hot, dirty and exhausting. 4 hour shooting days felt like 14. We often would drive 2-4 hours per day to the different remote villages to capture everything. The heat alone would wipe you out, but the exhaustion of being a full crew at all times also contributed to the chaos. 

 So many of the interviewees were really helpful when it came to carrying gear which I was thrilled for. 

So many of the interviewees were really helpful when it came to carrying gear which I was thrilled for. 

In the evening's I would dump footage and log everything. It was important doing this as we went along so it was less daunting than having to do it all at once when I got back. I noticed that the last few days in country I shot the most. I didn't get anything particularly better or more interesting than the previous days, but I think I was feeling that I had to get everything I can because there are no re-shoots. And not really knowing what was important at any given time, left me getting anything I thought looked interesting which may or may not be used in the final video(s). That was a frustrating thing to deal with and again totally out of my working comfort zone. I like a scripted and controlled environment to shoot in. This entire shooting experience was the complete opposite of that..

Overall, I am extremely grateful and thrilled that I was able to have this incredible learning experience both personally and professionally. As I begin to start putting the pieces together for these videos I will learn even more about what I was able to accomplish and more importantly what I failed at. All these amazing opportunities I was given for this project will only make me a stronger filmmaker, and for that alone, I am thankful.

Here's to the next adventure. 

Cheers and Hugs,

james

 

2nd Swing Golf Spot

Hey everyone, just posted the latest spot that I directed for 2nd Swing. They are going to be using this a ton. It's being aired nationally during this golf season's tourneys and you will see it on the Golf Channel as well if that's your thing. I learned a lot about golf making this spot. More than I thought I would. For example 'fatting it' or 'chunking it' means hacking a divot in the green and collecting some dirt and grass in with your shot. Not a good thing, but the terminology is kinda humorous. Anyway, check it out below and look forward to sharing more stuff with you soon! 

Cheers and Hugs,

james

Meat and Golf

Two blog posts in one day??? This is insane. Just shows that I am behind.

Last week I directed a golf spot for 2nd Swing golf. A fun day on a golf course with some great crew! Some photos below from the day.

I also had the absolute pleasure of directing a spot for Arby's with Fallon Worldwide the very next day. It was a really awesome experience and I am super grateful for the opportunity. I look forward to sharing it very soon with you all!

Cheers and Hugs,

james

Sharpie - Permanent Record

Here it is! Finally we are releasing this piece. I am really happy with how it turned out. It's linked below for you to check out! Hope you like it.

To give you an update on The Ice Cream Man short documentary, we are in the final stages of music and mix. The final leg of the journey is here and I really hope to have this wrapped by the beginning of summer.

Thanks for reading everyone.

Cheers and Hugs,

james 

Dog Park Release

Hello again, I feel like I am always apologizing for being away. I am really bad at this. But I have news. We finally released our dog park piece. I know in a previous post, I said you would see it in a couple weeks... I lied apparently. It was more like a couple months.  But it's here now. Check it out on the front page. 

We posted it a few days ago and we have been getting great press on it so far. It made it's way to CNN, Buzzfeed and now a few radio and TV affiliates are picking it up as well. Hope you enjoy it. 

I have a shoot coming up in a little over a week for the other project I teased way back in November involving a Sharpie marker. Stay tuned for updates on that. 

Cheers and Hugs,

james

Remember This? Also Happy New Year and Stuff

Hey people, hope you missed me. Happy New Year! 

Finally was given the go ahead from Castrol today to release a piece I directed for them months ago. It's on the front page for you. 

I am also excited to tell you I am starting an improv class tonight. Looking forward to exploring that world and to hopefully help make me a better writer. 

Having a pre-pro meeting for another piece tomorrow which I am really excited about. 

Stay tuned.

Cheers and Hugs,

james

[REDACTED]

Just posted a still of a spot I made a while back. Some of you may have seen the actual ad posted on my site several months ago and wonder what happened to it. Well, read the directions written on the still on my front page and we can chat. That's probably all I should say here about that. Hopefully posting soon about another project that is finishing up!

Cheers and Hugs,

james

#BeerCanChicken

This fall I directed a few spots for Popeye's chicken with the ad agency Mithun. It was an interesting experience as roosters are virtually undirectable creatures. That made it a bit tricky maneuvering them in the right direction and getting them to do what you want since they didn't respond to being called. The trainers of these animals don't even give them names which I thought was kind of sad, but I imagine one day they will be on a plate so really they are just shielding us from getting too attached. Also turns out they love blueberries. Who knew? We strategically placed those around the areas we wanted them to go which worked to an extent but then they were always down pecking. It was a balancing act and with some edit trickery, we were able to get a few fun little pieces out of it.

Hope you enjoy this one called Louisiana Landing.

Stay tuned as I should have another spot up in the next couple of weeks that I was teasing a few weeks back.

Cheers and Hugs,

james

October?

Hey there, 

Yeah so I blacked out the entire month of October apparently.. It was actually a crazy busy month at A2F Pictures which was awesome, so this hit the back burner for a bit, but I am back once again. Finishing up another new content piece. It's called 'People Acting Like Dogs in a Dog Park'

It's exactly how it sounds. 

Should have a finished product for you in a couple weeks. Color is finished and we are working on sound design, music and mix right now. 

Below is a set pic. It was a fabulous cast and crew who worked tirelessly on a Saturday to make this come to life. An immense thank you to them.

Here's a tease to the next project I have in pre-pro right now....

Cheers and Hugs,

james

Coming Soon

Hey all, new project should be coming out soon. Stay tuned. I am working on a bunch of stuff right now so hopefully some of the projects drop and will be in production soon.

Meanwhile, just saw the new trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's film Inherent Vice. This man knows how to make films. Enjoy.

Cheers and Hugs,

james

Dog People and Various Things

In October, we will be shooting a short comedy piece involving people. Vague right? I know. 

Phil Jones came up with this idea to have people acting like dogs in a dog park. Not on all fours, begging and barking, but like how dogs would act if they were people. Confused? Don't overthink it. It's gonna be a fun shoot, and I hope it's as funny as we hope it to be. 

Meanwhile, I will keep you updated on other projects I'm working on. It's getting to be Oscar season, so look for some good flicks coming out soon. I am pretty excited to see The Skeleton Twins starring Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. 

Also Gone Girl will be out soon. The new David Fincher adaptation of the book by Gillian Flynn. This is one of those rare times where I read the book before seeing the movie, so I am interested to see my reaction to it and how knowing the ending will affect my enjoyment of the film. If you haven't seen trailers for that or The Skeleton Twins, I have it linked for you below.

Cheers and Hugs,

james

You may have noticed...

You aren't going crazy. There was a post about a certain car spec ad that I directed along with a link to the spot that was posted last week. However, it has been taken down and you should only be able to find on the distant corners of the internet as we have obliterated all links to it that we have control of. 

The reason? 

To avoid a lawsuit from a very large and powerful car company.

Thats all I will say about it now...

In other news, I am working on a new project that hopefully won't have to get taken down or have a lawsuit pending. Keep your fingers crossed. More details to come.

Cheers and Hugs,

james

An Efficient Shoot

This past Friday we wrapped a shoot. That is all I really want to share right now. I feel like you'll just have to see it. We had a blast making it and we finished right before the downpour came so all in all a great day with some more talented cast and crew.

Cheers and Hugs,

james