Friday, April 29, 2011

The Prize

Several years ago my ward Relief Society asked me to help them make a movie about the "WRONG WAY" to do Visiting Teaching. This was in the early days of YouTube and it became a "Viral Hit" and I was getting about 20-30 requests for DVD's a week. I simply couldn't keep up with demand so I posted an .ISO and let people burn it themselves...moral of the story is that they crashed my server. Now, I tell them just to rip it off of YouTube themselves. I still get about 2-3 requests a week for "permission to use it" (people in the Church are so polite). Here is the original video, it is showing it's age.

I bring this up because about a month ago the Young Men approached me and ask me to teach them to "make a movie". Well, this was around the time our new baby was being born-
(side note for obligatory baby picture update)
I was in the middle of a freelance project and was working my day job. So, I pushed them off for a month and asked them to go write a script.

As many Young Men do, with little to no training, the script I got back was 4 lines. So, this is how it went down:

-Night 1: write script.
They were actually pretty good writers, considering we wrote by committee.

-Night 2: shoot 4 page/ 4 scene script in 2 hours
We pulled it off with some help from my old buddy C. Peck (the greatest audio, grip, lighting, all around good guy to know on a set guy in the biz)

-Night 3: Cut a trailer
And that is what you see below.

The boys in my Ward are awesome and I hope this video is as "viral" as the Visting Teaching video (it is now an official competition and it will be premiering in Stake Conference). The full film should be done in a week or two, but remember I am a father, who coaches soccer 2 times a week. Is attempting to teach my daughter fractions (and doing a mighty fine job I might add). Is trying to finalize potty training on another daughter. And is raising a 6 week old...okay, let's be honest, mom is doing all the hard work on that one. I'm just having fun playing filmmaker.

It's a tough gig.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I am Octolingual & The Mesa Easter Pageant

Two part post, one blog entry.
Bare with me since i haven't written in awhile.

In my last post I told you the adventures of completing the Easter Mormon Message for the LDS Church.

(please watch it again before Easter comes HERE)

My latest initiative as post-production supervisor is to begin implementing the 10 internet languages (this is new and will be a slow roll-out, so don't pressure me!) Right now we already produce them in English and Spanish, now we want try adding:
-Portuguese, Russian, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, German, French, Italian & Pig-latin.
(okay, I made the last one up).

I think this is great, but I only see one problem. I speak one language and I don't even speak that language very well, that is English. Working with Spanish is just beginning to be smooth. But with these new 8 languages, I thought it would be simple because the Easter message is mostly text that I could just copy and paste. For the most part I did pretty good except when it came to the Asian languages. Man, those characters are HARDCORE. I'll hyper-link the above messages as they become live on YouTube in the coming days.

Luckily, at the Church we employ a plethora of people that speak a ton of languages. Sitting next to me is a French speaker. Across from me Portuguese and French speakers. The floors above me have Mandarin & Japanese speakers. Just a few clicks away and a file gets send to a friend that can check the German and another that can check Korean. And let's be honest, I'm pretty good at ebonics, yo! Quite remarkable that we have the 'internet 10' covered in our building and by the end of this process I'll be Octolingual.

Last week I had the opportunity to go to Mesa, AZ and film a Church News & Events story about the Mesa Easter Pageant.

I've never seen a Church Pageant and I had been told that this was the one to see. It was a pretty cool shoot with some talented producers in Media Services (Jim and Erika, I'm talkin' about you!) and a very enthusiastic cast and crew. We got to interview many of the cast members, families who had been in the pagaent for years, non-member cast, even a lamb!

Additionally we interviewed some missionaries that were there last year, the director and even the actor who portrayed Christ. I was impressed with how humble he was and what a great responsibility it was to him. The pageant is a HUGE deal to the community of Mesa and brings in 8,000-12,000 people each night, totally amazing. They even have live animals (sheep, a donkey which didn't kick me off the stage) and a real baby playing the part of baby Jesus.
(side note: during the 2nd performance one night one, Baby Jesus was not a happy camper...just saying, it was his nap time!)

Here is the final product that the news team put together:

I encourage anyone that has the opportunity to see the pageant once in their lifetime, it is pretty cool and just tells the Easter story, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Very powerful stuff.

Even though I was only gone for 3 days, I missed being away from my family, particularly because I had a 4 week old new baby girl. I'm amazed at how much they change practically overnight. I skyped home one afternoon (since we primarily shot in the evenings) and couldn't believe how chubby her cheeks had gotten. My others kids were so excited to "see me" over the electronic airwaves. I'm one proud poppa. It made me reflect on this amazing technology that seemed to be second nature to them, but was amazing to me still (does this make me old?). I was talking to them from thousands of miles away and seeing them, as well. They were performing for me, my son was showing me his latest Lego creations and my 3-year-old daughter was showing me her dance outfit and my oldest daughter was telling me all about school and activity days. It was just like being there. It made me happy to be a father in this era of technology.

It used to be that I had to send an e-mail (or worse yet, send a postcard), which couldn't express my true emotions or love, or call and only talk to one person at a time. But this way I could talk to all of them at once, smile and express love to them all with the expression on my face.
Thank you technology.
Thank you internet ( and Al Gore :) ).
Thank you Skype.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My final Mormon Message

As I alluded to in my last post, my job description is changing a bit in the Mormon Messages world. I'll still be working on them, but rather then coming up with ideas and being a producer, I'll be the post-production supervisor, making sure that the technical standards are followed correctly and then aiding in finalizing the pieces and prepping them for delivery to the web. Additionally, I'll be working with some outside companies to do turnkey outsourcing of Mormon Messages or just portions. I'll be responsible for much more in the workflow and touching each and ever message that come through the shop.

Additionally, I will also be coordinating Language production and making sure that the messages get translated into Spanish in a timely manner, something that has been lacking in the last little while.

As I reflect on these changes, I thought I would post the first Mormon Message that I ever produced back in 2008. This was a talk from Elder Holland and was produced in record time, about 3 days from start to finish, including approvals.

Today's latest release, my FINAL Mormon Message is the 2011 Easter message. "His Sacred Name - An Easter Declaration"

I was privileged to work on this message and touched by the spirit that I felt as I worked with my co-producer Christina Torriente-Robey. All of the images are brand new still images produced by the still photographers and they did some amazing work and once again I was deeply touched by their work and the portrayal of the Christ story.

I am thrilled to be able to work on these messages everyday and although I won't be producing them directly, I'm lucky to be working with incredible producers and helping them make top quality products each month and helping where I can.

I feel a bit like a father who has created a piece of media and then moved on and let other producers now come into their own and start producing stuff. I'm so proud of them and the work that they do and they are pretty amazing and I'm just the proud dad that sits back and watches with a smile (and happiness knowing that I don't have to deal with the approvals anymore.) My time has come and I'm ready to move onto the next challenge.