Another year gone by. Still trips me out we’re pushing 2012.
I remember when I was a kid watching Buck Rogers thinking 1999 was a long ways off…sheesh.
I have to say it’s been a pretty amazing year. I just wanted to do some reflecting and give a rundown of how I spent the past 365 or so days.
Kicking off 2011 we started up the HELP! I’M ALIVE… blog with a promo video. Anthony Larice (the creator) and I were out location scouting up in the Santa Cruz mountains and decided to give everybody the first real look at what the series is all about.
The beginning of the year was also pretty special for me as I was asked to participate in the Grammy Career Day, where people involved in the music business talk mostly to high school and college kids about how they got into the business. I was asked to paricipate in 2 panels. The first was giving my critique on two high school studens’ songs that they submitted for myself and rest of the panel to discuss. We were all from different aspects of the business and I gave my take on what I would do as a manager.
The second panel was me telling people how I got in to the business, what a typical day is like for me and some general stuff about the music business and how I fit in to it.
At the end of the day I did a video and talked about the day’s events. I was just getting over a cold that day unfortunately.
In February we released the first ever music video for Karyn Paige.
The video was shot in 2010 and the release party was at Beta Lounge in Berkeley, CA on February 14th (yes, Valentine’s Day).
It was a pretty big deal for Karyn since it was her first music video, and overall it was just a great time. A lot of people came out to support and overall the night was a huge success.
It was the last video I shot on my Panasonic DVX-100 as 2011 also saw me buying my first DSLR camera, the Canon T2i. Haven’t gone back to SD since — except for a music vid I did with Headnodic, but that was on purpose.
Given the budget of the video I think it came out pretty awesome. It definitely has a throwback vibe to it circa mid to late 80′s.
The video was directed, shot and edited by myself with lots of help from Steve Reddell and Jared Schmit. Also have to give shout outs to Aima the Dreamer and Debra Gilbert for their invaluable assistance as well, not to mention The Scoundrels (Matt, Joe, Chris & Teeko) who made the video that much more awesome.
The entire video was shot at Soundwave Studios in Oakland, CA and took about 3 days total. Looking at it now there are definitely some mistakes from a technical standpoint that I would fix after the fact, but fuck it. Enjoy.
February/March was definitely a 2011 highlight as we shot our first ever HELP! I’M ALIVE… scenes for our WonderCon Promo.
I can’t say enough good things about the cast & crew for this shoot. Everyone was on their game and we pulled off exactly what we wanted.
Ethan Parsonage (aka Headnodic) was cast as our zombie, Frank, who joins a little girl for her tea party and then eats her. I thought Ethan did an amazing job as did our makeup artist, Chrysalis Rose.
I mean, just look at this zombie:
I also have to give the utmost props to our little girl, Libby Ibarra. What a professional.
Libby delivered her lines perfectly every time, never complained, never had an attitude or any kind of tantrum or other thing you would think an 8 year old might do sitting on a hill in February/March in the Bay Area when it’s cold as shit outside for hours on end. She was not only a delight to have on set, but truly has the gift to act.
Here’s the very first promo we put out from that shoot. It was just some b-roll we shot for the sake of shooting and decided it came out great.
Our production team, Maximum Flavor, were (as always) amazing.
It was the very first time I worked with those guys and Mark Austin Heim & Mitch Roth were professional all the way and made sure I got the shots I wanted. I’ve been working with them ever since.
Our sound person, Darlene Drake; pro all the way as well. I worked with Darlene on another project I was DP on and had her join our crew for the simple fact that she’s awesome. Not only as a sound person, but as a person in general. We had a lot of fun on that set but always got shit done and done right.
It was my first real directing gig other than music videos and I definitely learned a lot working with everyone. Moreso learning the terminology and standard set practices than anything else.
It felt very natural and I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to shoot the series.
Another person who was paramount in making this whole thing come together was of course Anthony Larice, the show creator and the main character, Loryn.
Anthony is someone who loves to joke around and goof off, but when the camera starts rolling and I yell action, he is on point 100%. I really lucked out getting the chance to work with nothing but professionals my first time out of the gate shooting a narrative short.
Our post-production team was just as pro. Our editing was done by Dan Ast (writer/director/editor of the film Claire) and HIA producer David Schatanoff who handled the sound design, including foley and dialogue.
The music was done by Kat Ouano, a Bay Area musician who is most well known for being part of the group, Crown City Rockers.
The promo was written by myself and Anthony. I ended up producing the majority of it as well.
I have to say I definitely like producing, but not as much as directing.
Here’s the actual promo we premiered at WonderCon in April of 2011. It hit the web on May 13th, 2011 — Friday the 13th.
April and May were pretty busy months as well.
The first week of April was WonderCon. I had never been to a convention like that except for Fangoria back in 2006 with Sin-Jin Smyth.
We had a booth and ran our promo all day all 3 days. I got to meet Tarsem Singh (director of The Fall and Immortals) and got his autograph.
I went to the Cowboys & Aliens panel with Jon Favreau and Robert Orci. Saw my friend Camden Toy, met some cool new people and best of all got to unleash our web show to the world via our exclusive promo.
In April I also visited Hollywood where I did some shooting with Tricia Helfer & Katee Sackhoff and met up with all of my friends down there.
I always have fun in Hollywood. I’m sure some day I’ll move back there, but not today.
Here’s one of the Q & A sessions I shot w/ Tricia while I was down there.
I also shot some stuff with both Tricia and her cohort, Katee Sackhoff for their charity organization, Acting Outlaws.
Always fun hanging out with those two, as you’ll see later on in this post.
While down there I also did my first interview with Geek Speak Radio — a local Bay Area internet radio show who have been big supporters of HELP! I’M ALIVE.
April was also a very special show for Lyrics Born at Yoshi’s in San Francisco as he performed CONTINUUM, a tribute to James Brown and Curtis Mayfield.
LB had the entire band on stage including Uriah Duffy, Kat O1O, Max MacVeety, Jon Monahan, Jazz Mafia, Joyo Velarde & Codany Holiday.
The show was a huge hit and here’s some rehearsal footage I shot prior to the event.
June was a hot month — not literally — but figuratively as Lyrics Born hosted Jazz Mafia at Stern Grove in San Francisco, CA with special guests Chali 2na, Martin Luther and Mickey Hart.
LB headlined Stern Grove in 2008, so I had been there before, but I forgot how utterly amazing the place is.
If you’ve never been it’s this wooden stage set up in the middle of a forest with over a 10,000 person capacity.
An amazing show no doubt, and I actually got to meet Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead) whom I had been inspired by back in High School via his CD “Planet Drum”.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m a drummer too.
Here’s some of the video I shot at the show and compiled together into an LBTV episode:
July was another hot month for 2011 as we released not one, but TWO Headnodic videos — both of which I directed.
The first was a video we had shot in 2010 with Kat O1O and it was the first time I had shot anything underwater.
For this video I had used my DVX-100 as well as my Panasonic camcorder for the underwater stuff.
The video came out great. I think it was a total of 4 days of shooting. We shot Lateef & Lyrics Born on green screen and the rest was all practical on location with Kat & Headnodic.
A lot of people tell me they really love this video. I do, but as always I see it and see what I could have done better.
But the reality is, if I could have done better, I would have. Hindsight is always 20/20 and I’ve learned a lot since I shot that video over a year ago anyways.
Big shout out to Dave Frias & Steve Reddell without whose help this video could not have been made.
The same month Headnodic released his solo record, RED LINE RADIO, which we shot a video for the title track.
This video features Headnodic, Raashan Ahmad and Moe Pope.
We shot all of Headnodic and Raashan’s stuff in one day and had Moe Pope shoot and send us the footage for his verse since he’s back east.
This was the first video I shot with my Canon T2i and the difference is quite remarkable. I’ve also got some DVX-100 and camcorder footage in this video as well, but that was all by design.
The main concept for both of these videos came from Headnodic and together we fleshed them out and turned them in to viable music videos.
This is probably one of my fave music videos I’ve done. It has a very 80′s retro-skateboard-video-vibe to it along with some HD goodness.
I like mixing and matching like that, especially for music videos. You can get away with that kind of thing and it works and looks cool.
Dave Frias again came through in a big way to help make this video a reality.
Check out the cameo from Max MacVeety.
The summer was also a great time for HELP! I’M ALIVE as we went through our casting process and found our main cast of characters!
It was a somewhat grueling process, but all in all was a lot of fun. Mucho thanks to Karyn Paige who was our casting supervisor and helped in choosing our actors.
Also had some help from Jared Schmit as well as Francis Hamada and Christopher Denise.
One of the highlights was getting actor John Philbin (Pointbreak, North Shore, Return of the Living Dead) on board.
I’ve known John for years and I’m excited to work with him on this level and get to direct him. I’m a big fan of his work and I can’t wait to see him on set for this show.
August was an important month as my friend Rich Brown and I (who used to play in bands together in high school and after) put out our second song together.
We took on the moniker, BAD BLOTTER as our “band name” and have been working on music together for the past year. Mostly Rich would send me instrumentals that I would put vocals over.
(Oh yeah, for those who don’t know I used to be the lead vocalist in a rap metal band in the 90′s)
So anyways, it started with one song that eventually became “Wi Fi” and since the track came out so good we decided to do more.
In August we put out this song; “Subliminable”.
It’s a very political track with lots of samples. I really love the music on this and I think the vocals came out pretty good too. What do you think?
Another reason August was such a big deal is because it marked the official return of LATYRX (Lyrics Born & Lateef the Truthspeaker).
These two played a show in 2010 with Jazz Mafia as a one-off deal and it ended up being such a smash that they decided to re-unite officially.
Outside Lands was the first Latyrx show in 2011 and was a huge hit at the festival.
Within the same month Latyrx performed at Google HQ, which was an awesome experience. Got a short tour of the Google campus and I have to say they treat their employees better than most companies.
Days later LB & Lateef were asked to join Joseph Gordon-Levitt as part of his HITRECORD traveling showcase. The guys were asked to a live remix of a song that some of the HitRecord.org community members had put together. The dynamic duo were joined by DJ Zeph and also did some Latyrx songs which the crowd went apeshit over.
I also got to meet Joseph Gordon-Levitt, do a quick video with him and was “that guy” and asked for a photo.
Glad I did. A truly great individual, and I love the HitRecord stuff. Very inspiring!
September we launched the Gift of Gab IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds to shoot his upcoming new music video, “Everything Is Fine” featuring Latyrx & the one-and-only George Clinton.
I got to meet George to discuss the video and what we could and couldn’t do with his characters (Dr. Funkenstein, Sir Nose, etc). Another great moment for sure. Cool guy. Very down-to-earth.
In October we released the second music video from Karyn Paige, “Stay Away Tonight”.
This was a cool music video shoot that we did over the course of 2 days/nights at Hotel Frank in San Francisco, CA.
The video for this song was very Madonna inspired and I really like how it came together visually.
The concept came from Karyn and we worked together to flesh it out and create the video you see above.
Debra Gilbert was once again invaluable on this shoot as was Tremaine Maurice.
Both really brought the unique visual style (along with Karyn) that permeates the entire video.
One of my favorites so far.
In November we launched our second HELP! I’M ALIVE IndieGoGo campaign to raise money to shoot the pilot episode.
We got most of the cast involved and I put together some promo vids including this one:
I made my second trip down to Hollywood in November and got to kick it with friends again and of course Katee Sackhoff & Tricia Helfer.
We shot some Q & A for Katee this time and the three of us go together to discuss the Acting Outlaws documentary.
It was a wonderful evening of drinks, conversation and fun. One of the highlights was the three of us sitting in front of Katee’s fireplace and all taking photos of ourselves simultaneously on our cell phones.
Here’s one of the Katee Q & A videos from the shoot we did while I was down there.
December was definitely a highlight for me as I got to visit my friends in Seattle as well as my family.
It was also a vacation for me (a much needed one) and I had a blast. I got to see the Battlestar Galactica exhibit at the EMP in Seattle and spend time with friends I haven’t seen in a long time.
As I wrap up 2011 I’m looking forward to 2012 which is going to see us shooting the pilot for HELP! I’M ALIVE, the Gift of Gab music video and finishing up a couple more projects including the “Oakland” music video from Lateef the Truthspeaker.
Thanks to everyone who made this year probably one of my most memorable ever. So many awesome things went down — it’s gonna be hard to top it, but I have a feeling 2012 is going to.
I’m sure I forgot some stuff and I know I left some stuff out on purpose, but these have definitely been some of the major highlights of the past year.