Archive for the ‘Shorts’ Category
A few months ago, there was a video making waves online that starred a cute little girl doing a beatbox to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Turns out her mom, Jasmine, is a good friend of mine who I used to dance with back in high school. Her daughter, Mya, had been making fun videos on YouTube and when she released this beatbox video, it went viral and was mentioned on Ryan Seacrest’s blog as well as the Huffington Post.
Not soon after, PBS Kids reached out with a show offer for Mya. They loved her personality and knew she has potential for an entertaining and educational online series. When Jasmine told me about the opportunity, I couldn’t pass it up.
We shot two pilot episodes. PBS wants a kid and parent-friendly show that will educate as well as entertain. After brainstorming several topics that Mya could tackle, we finally boiled it down to two.
Working with Mya was a blast. It didn’t take her long to get familiar and comfortable with me and my crew. After just a few takes feeling a little shy, she started to let loose and really have fun with the camera. I think she enjoyed the topics a lot and just has a knack for performing (she must get it from Jasmine!). It was my first time working with a kid but Mya did all of the heavy lifting. =)
The show page is now LIVE on YouTube and the first episode is up! We’re all excited to see Mya with her first official show. We will be shooting a new video each week and you can be sure that Mya’s charm will brighten up your day!
Last Sunday, we came back to the mountain to tackle Tough Mudder again. This time, we brought more of the family!
There was a total of 12 members on Team Pants Noodle (cleverly named by my nephews): 6 guys and 6 girls. It was another awesome experience tackling 11+ miles and 20+ obstacles on the mountain. Real proud of the first timers who grit their teeth through the whole course. And we did set a record that NO ONE else on the mountain can brag about: the first AND last team on the mountain! We didn’t even realize it until the MC ran through the final obstacle with us. #GetYourMoneysWorth
We captured the day on three separate waterproof cameras. With a much larger team than last year and 3x as many cameras, you can imagine the amount of footage I had to go through. I was able to slice down all of that footage into a short highlight reel that encompasses our whole experience.
Congrats, fellow mudders.
One day in May of 2011, while listening to the “Braveheart” station on Pandora (i love my epic movie soundtracks), an ad was displayed that showed a silhouette of people marching through a blazing fire with the words “Tough Mudder – Probably The Toughest Event On The Planet”. With the height of the music playing, envisioning William Wallace’s march into the battlefield, I clicked on the ad and found myself totally intrigued with this event.
Four months later, I found myself staring at the mountain at Squaw Valley with 5 other brave souls on my team, ready to tackle 11+ miles, +2300′ elevation, and a flurry of military-style obstacles that included 12 foot walls, crawling in the mud through barbed wire, swimming through freezing cold lakes, and getting shocked by 10,000 volts of electricity.
I brought with me an Olympus Tough camera (waterproof, shockproof, dustproof) that proved to be a soldier itself. I played around with the footage we shot and here is the result!
Overall it was an amazing experience and ultimate challenge. It also forced me to get healthy and back in shape, which has benefited me in my daily life (even my blood pressure is now at a normal level).
We are back for Tough Mudder Norcal 2012 with a bigger team and new, anxiety-filled faces. I missed documenting a few opportunities last year because of battery life, but we are bringing plenty of cameras and power to document the whole experience. Plus, this mountain looks to be much meaner: more ICE obstacles, more ELECTRICITY, more MUD!
There’s no greater motivation than the fear of failing yourself or your team on that mountain. Somebody give Pandora’s marketing director a raise! And thank you James Horner for inspiring the epic.
I was brought on board with Bing Lim, who is producing the show and I didn’t know too much about the shoot, but it sounded a lot of fun to do. I was impressed by the high-level of wardrobe, make-up, hair and talent that each cast member had.
The commercial will air in the San Francisco Bay Area through Comcast on several channels. Be sure to support your local arts and community!
While traveling through Peru, I stumbled upon a volunteer organization in Arequipa. I had always been looking for opportunities to give back while using my skills. The enthusiastic staff happily invited me to document a day in the life of the volunteers at the Flora Tristan English School. These volunteers are doing awesome things for these children and their families who don’t have very much. It was humbling to see how much time and effort has already gone into the school and the all the projects they have lined up for the future.
If you ever find yourself traveling through Peru (say, on the way to Machu Picchu?), and have time to volunteer, take a look at www.HoopPeru.org and see what opportunities they have to offer you!
Anyone who has spent some time traveling will tell you that the people you meet along the way is probably the biggest influence on the type of trip you have. We were fortunate enough to choose Wayra River Hostel during our stay in Arequipa and met Guillermo and Alejandra, very friendly and gracious hosts who helped make our time very rich and memorable.
After hearing about how business had been slow at the hostal, I thought they could use a short promotional video to help bring in more guests. Most of the footage I would use was existing already, so we just had to shoot a quick interview and I would edit a piece together for them.
Last year, we took a last-minute vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was a great chance to step away from the cutting room and strap on the old traveling shoes again, even if only for a short while. The days we left weren’t planned at all; lucky enough, our dates coincided with the final days of the Festival of the Virgin Guadalupe.
It’s a religious ceremony that happens every year in December. For twelve nights, there are huge processions through the city that end at the Church of the Virgin Guadalupe (the main church in Puerto Vallarta). It’s a huge event for the locals. The procession includes floats made by local businesses, dancers dressed as Aztec warriors, drummers, bands, and singers making their way down the street. Our favorite part of the festivities? Plenty of street food all-around! We seriously lucked out to be able to experience this local festival in it’s final days.
Here’s a short highlights video to give you a sense of the experience.
I had been looking for an opportunity to “give back” in some way to the community utilizing my skills. Word got around and photographer Thai Chu approached me about a non-profit startup he was bringing together. When I heard about the objective of the organization, I was convinced to create a short video for it.
The mission of HoldOnto.org is to provide everybody with a chance to have family portraits, regardless of their socio-economic background. I hadn’t really thought about it before, this is something that can be all too easily taken for granted, especially this day in age when pocket smart phones are cranking out some serious megapixels and DSLRs are becoming more and more accessible. Still, there are those who don’t have access nor the means to acquire something that can be very enriching to their lives: the family portrait.
Thai enlisted the help of his close friends and supporters and threw a little BBQ at a local park. It was an event that had been all planned out; including the families that were to show up to have their pictures taken. Unfortunately, there was some kind of mixup and the invitation had not been sent. A near-disaster, but we lucked out when we realized there was a community holiday party happening around the corner. Thai is also a teacher and some of his volunteers were his students. He sent them out to spread the word that free family portraits and food were being offered. It didn’t take too long to start seeing families line up!
I was able to document each of the families getting their pictures taken by Thai and captured many smiles and precious moments. I think HoldOnto.org has a promising future and I’m glad to be a part of an organization that gives back to the community in a unique and relatable way.
Before you dive into the blog, you can watch our official entry right here: http://crashthesuperbowl.com/#/gallery?video=15185
I’ve been meaning to enter this contest for several years, and I’m happy to finally have an entry.
This was a collaborative project with my buddy and aspiring writer, Mike Hedrick. He’s been working on his craft and recently won 2nd place in Cyberspace Open hosted by CreativeScreenwriting.com. As busy as I was with other projects, he really pushed to have his idea produced!
The idea came to him when teasing his chihuahua, Molly, with a treat and saw how hilarious it was when her paws would stretch out to reach for it. He then recruited his buddy Daniel and his beautiful daughter Amelia.
As simple of a production as it seems, a lot of the execution relied on two unpredictable factors, both who happen to be the stars of our commercial: a baby and a chihuahua. Amelia (baby) was actually relatively easy to work with. All she needed was one nap in the afternoon and then she was ready to go (something we could all use some days). And, thanks to Sesame Street on the iPad, that was more than enough motivation for her to crawl away from her toys.
It was Molly that required a few motivators; a can of gravy to slather on a beef bone larger than her whole body, to get her to ‘eat’ it rather than run away from it. And attracting her to the Doritos chip required small pieces of freshly-cooked sausage hidden under the chip (in fact, post-production required a bit of ‘erasing’ of some props that helped us get our shots)!
Our production was pretty simple, but we knew the idea didn’t require anything extravagant. Amelia is super gorgeous and Molly is cute. Throw them into a ‘chase’, and we feel we’ve got a fun and memorable commercial!
If you like it, please feel free to share with your friends and family. We’re crossing our fingers for the finalist selection which will be revealed in January. And we’re particularly excited to be entered into this contest at the chance to work with the ridiculously-hilarious Lonely Island!
Finally, here’s a little behind-the-scenes/gag reel of the production.
With today’s release of Star Wars on Blu-Ray, I thought it would be a proper time to revisit a project of mine that is very close to my heart: Star Wars Episode Zero.
During one winter break while I was still in college, my buddy showed me these lightsaber battles that people were making in their backyard. I was completely in awe of the effect; not so much the production or story. Once I learned how to create the lightsaber effect, the possibilities of what we could accomplish took a life of it’s own. It became a year-long labor of love, in which we explored every which way we could to push our fan film to the next level: custom wardrobe, fight choreography, epic locations, and of course… new lightsabers and lightsaber battles!
The next winter break I spent entirely in the “cave”. After finalizing every frame of the trailer, we locked the edit, and then it was time to get to the effects. There is an estimated 30 seconds of lightsaber footage in the film, and at 30 frames per second, that’s a total of 900 frames of rotoscoping! Not to mention a few scenes with multiple lightsabers and complex masking when lightsabers move behind people/objects.
As many times as I’ve watched this, it still brings back all the great memories we had creating it. I consider this project moviemaking at it’s purest; driven by a passion to create the Star Wars universe in all of it’s detail, researching, writing, building, shooting, editing to exhaustion, and not getting paid for it (in fact, our main expense was the fabric for the customized wardrobe)!
How do we make the lightsaber spin in someone’s hand? How do we push what’s possible with new lightsaber styles? How can I create the hologram effect? How do I composite a moon in the background of our Palace of Fine Arts shot? These are the some of the challenges we gave ourselves and tackled in the making of this fan film.
Next time, I’ll revisit the “Making Of” and “Outtakes” clip and share with you the experience of creating Episode Zero. For now, please enjoy…