Monthly Archives: August 2013

Video teaser for 2013 Seattle Interactive Conference is now live

Here’s the fruits of our labor for Seattle Interactive Conference this year: the official conference teaser is now live. I would like to send a big thank you to motion graphics designer Jael Topek, who did a bang-up job with the animations, and Michiko Swiggs, the graphic designer who created Timmy, the owl that is the official mascot of the event.

See you all at the conference in October.

The Last Light short film campaign launches

I am thrilled to be DPing a short film later this month called The Last Light. My partner LIsa Cooper is producing the film, which is directed by Jennifer Cummins, whom we met because of the 48 Hour Film Challenge earlier this year. The screenplay was written by Persephone Vandegrift, a talented Seattle writer. Here’s the synopsis:

Karen is a hard-working single mother of two girls, Hanna, 14, and Becca, 6. When the unthinkable happens and Becca’s young life is tragically cut short, Karen faces her fears and searches Becca’s room for the redemption and forgiveness she desperately needs. If we have a light to guide us, we can always find our way home.

THE LAST LIGHT is a story about finding light in the darkest of moments. Grief is a natural emotion, but sometimes it lasts too long. Forgiving oneself and accepting what life delivers is the biggest step toward managing grief. THE LAST LIGHT will inspire not only those who are currently in pain, but also those with loved ones who need help.

This is a film made by women, who fill all but one of the key positions, leaving me as the token male. That’s intentional, because the film is aimed at the Women in Film competition in Vancouver, BC, which requires it. I’m honored to be included. Here’s more about the crew.

Jennifer Cummins (Director) has directed and produced documentaries for Sunsports, ABC News,, and Jennifer has also worked with companies such as Turner Broadcasting, Carnival Cruiselines and Kelby Media Group. Most recently, Jennifer jumped feet first into Seattle’s 48 Hour Film Project where she directed, produced and edited MAN AND A VAN. She is also an avid portrait photographer and founder of Inspired by Gandhi’s quote: “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will,” Jennifer has a passion for telling stories of inner strength and overcoming hardships to inspire the soul.

Persephone Vandegrift (Writer) debuted her first mytho/supernatual play, TWO, back in 1996. Since then she’s written several plays that have been performed nationally. Her first feature, DEATH OF A MORTAL WOMAN, has won several screenwriting awards. Her award-winning short script turned film, ALL THINGS HIDDEN, is about to hit the festival circuit. Another feature, THE WATER KING, is currently in development. Check out Seph’s work:

Lisa Cooper (Producer) With a background in the visual arts, as well as her corporate experience at Amazon, Lisa has an uncompromising ability to deliver on budget and on time. She produced BEYOND NAKED, a recipient of the “Best Documentary” award at Seattle’s STIFF Festival 2013. She most recently wrote and directed a short film called MR FAMOUS, an Audience Choice award winner in the Seattle 48 Hour Film Project. She partners with Dan McComb at Visual Contact.

Dan McComb (Director of Photography) is an award-winning photojournalist, with publication credits including “Time” and “Newsweek.” This experience is the foundation of his current work as a documentary filmmaker. His first feature-length film, BEYOND NAKED, received the “Best Documentary” award at Seattle’s STIFF Festival in 2013. His short films THE COFFINMAKER and THE METALSMITH are recent Vimeo Staff Picks. He partners with Lisa Cooper at Visual Contact.

Catherine Grealish (Composer) is a composer for film, media and live performance who has experience in a wide range of music genres. A multi-instrumentalist, she is a classically and jazz trained singer, and also plays violin, piano, and guitar. Her piano piece Remember Me is featured in our video.

We’re raising money for this film with an IndieGoGo campaign, which launched yesterday. I can’t believe how fast this film has picked up support. It was 50 percent funded within a couple of hours of launch. I’ve never seen a campaign do that well right out of the gate. We still have a ways to go to get fully funded, of course, and for that we need your help. If you’ve ever been touched deeply by grief, please considering supporting this film.

Ken Simpson: My 720p beats your 4k

Here’s a rare and refreshing perspective: a director willing to call bullshit on the rush to 4k. You tell ’em Ken! Story is still very much king. So how come all you hear about his the latest camera? I’m guilty of that too, certainly. And the reason has to have something to do with the fact that story is hard, and it means talking about individual projects, and, as is pointed out in Ken’s rant, there aren’t any large camera companies that have stories to promote – they have cameras to sell. The narrative of filmmaking tends to be dominated by companies with products to push. Happily, we have Ken’s reminder about what the real deal is: story.

We Make Seattle project kicks off

I’m officially on board with an exciting new film project. It’s a short called We Make Seattle, which I’m going to DP for Scott Berkun. Bryan Zug and Adam Baggett of Bootstrapper Studios are producing it. We need to raise $28k to make this film. Here’s the pitch:

I’m thrilled to be lensing this film because entrepreneurship is near and dear to my heart. My very first short, Shine, was all about small business people chasing their dreams. But perhaps most exciting for me is the opportunity to make a film with Scott Berkun. Scott is an incredible writer and all around bright guy, whose work I’ve been reading and following for five years or more. His latest book, The Year Without Pants, chronicles his adventures working as a remote employee for for one year.

Scott has made no secret about his desire to try his hand at filmmaking, and I’m deeply honored to have the opportunity to work with him on his first short. And, this is a film about my favorite city in the whole world. From the film’s website:

This short film is a celebration of what makes Seattle the best place in the world for entrepreneurs and creatives to live. It tells the story of the vibrant and supportive community we have for starting companies, betting on dreams, and chasing big ideas.

Despite being named the #1 tech city in America by The Atlantic, and consistent top rankings on the list of the world’s most livable city, we’re frequently overlooked as the place to go for people with big talents and ideas. This film will change that.

The film has three goals:

1. Celebrate the creative community. We have all personally benefited from the Seattle community, and the film will be a reflection back to the community itself on how many amazing companies, events, and projects are based here. In our daily lives we rarely step back to see the entire city, and We Make Seattle will inspire by telling the story of how many great things happen around us.

2. Help recruiters and entrepreneurs attract talent. NYC, LA and even Portland have produced short videos to help local companies tell the story of their city. Seattle has no such film, until now. The film will be the perfect one link to send to convince ambitious creatives, potential business partners, or top candidates from around the world to bring their passions to the northwest.

3. Have the community tell its own story. Everything about this project is built by the Seattle community itself, and led by well known leaders who have benefited from our creative city and want to give something back. We’ll be inviting people to contribute in various ways throughout the production of the film.

All funds beyond our budget will be used to promote the video, as PR and reaching a wide audience is as important as the video itself.

Just published: Inside the Bullitt Center

When Fast Company Magazine invited Lisa and I to pitch Seattle story ideas, we thought, what’s more heroic than the Bullitt Foundation’s brave new building in Capitol Hill? It’s undeniably the greenest office building in the world. But is it the future of architecture, or an expensive monument to sustainability? Watch the video and let us know what you think.

Technical info:

Camera: 5dmkiii, with Eos-adapted Zeiss prime lens set.
Aviator travel jib.
Graded with Film Convert Pro.