December 19, 2009

The Credit Card Con - Small Business in SLC

Credit card transactions are quickly becoming the norm for business owners in the US. You may have noticed signs at businesses alerting you to a credit card transaction fee or denoting a minimum purchase price for credit card use. These strategies are used to counter the processing fees charged to business owners who wish to use credit cards in their transactions.

Large businesses like Wal-Mart get discounts on their transaction fees because they process so many cards per day. But small businesses get charged a higher percentage per transaction to compensate for the fewer transactions. This means that small businesses with slimmer profit margins and smaller revenue streams are being charged more than large companies.

I was hired by Dave Owen of Owen Communications LLC to find small business owners and conduct brief interviews about their opinions of the unbalanced credit card policies. Furthermore they all asked Senator Bennett of Utah to support legislation against higher fees for small businesses.

Dave Smith owns Shop 'n Go market in Salt Lake City. Due to the nature of convenience store purchases, says he actually loses money on small items purchased with credit cards.

Craig Buchi of Craig's Service Center in Salt Lake, says that his largest expense is credit card transaction fees.

Emigration Market owner and Salt Lake City Councilman JT Martin discusses the rising frequency of credit card transactions and the impact on his business.

All of these videos were spontaneous, middle of the day interviews with no preparation whatsoever. I'm very impressed with the way my camera handled 3 different lighting conditions in 3 different environments. The footage doesn't look as good as it would with a full lighting setup, but for a run 'n gun deal they look great. Another important thing is they don't look staged. I literally went in and talked to these guys for about as long as the video takes. It's raw and rough but then again, so is the state of small business.

To learn more about the legislation against high transaction fees, visit

Utah Light Opera

On Sunday I was asked to document a performance by Utah Light Opera in association with Utah Premiere Brass. The two musical organizations came together in a dazzling display of Christmas music.

The concert was unique in the respect that it was offered free of charge to the public, with a $5 suggested donation and contained top-notch vocalists and musicians.

The Utah Light Opera is the brainchild of my voice teacher David Schmidt and his wife Shalee Schmidt. The two created a nonprofit organization to showcase the talents of vocalists in the state of Utah and to give vocalists of all levels opportunities to perform.

David is selling DVD's of the concert for $20, you can contact me if you'd like to buy one. Shoot me an email at

Here's a silly picture of my camera eclipsed before the lights of God.
From Utah Light Opera
The Holy HPX

December 13, 2009

Dork Knight - Rebecca Mabey's Short Film

Months ago I was cast in a short film made by my neighbor and local wedding photographer Rebecca Mabey. We've been working steadily on the project for a while and now we finally finished shooting.

The film follows Kate, a girl who needs some money so she starts a business as a paid friend. At first she only meets nerds and losers but then she meets Chris, played by me. Chris' roommate Jake set the two of them up and is paying Kate with Chris' money without him knowing. Chris and Kate become closer as they begin to fall for each other, but what will happen once the secret is revealed?

You'll have to watch the film to find out!

The film was made for the University of Utah Film Department's advanced production class. I've appeared in three films for that class so far, including Colin McDermott's about lifeguards, look for a post about that later.

Rebecca is one of the most organized and professional directors I have ever worked with. When shooting student film, one normally expects things to take much longer than they need to and do things that probably aren't necessary for the final cut. Rebecca however, kept her word about what time we would finish shooting and was incredibly coherent when it came to what the crew's role was on set.

From Believing and Dork to Dork
Above you can see our fabulous DP, Ryan, and Rebecca shooting a scene with Kate, played by Morgan Mabey, dressed as a princess.

I managed to appear in none of the behind the scenes pictures so if you want to see me you'll have to watch the film. There will probably be a premiere at some point, I'm quite excited to see how it turns out. The script was a lot of fun and made me laugh out loud when I read it, that doesn't happen often I assure you.

You can check up on the progress of the film on Rebecca's blog, for which I have a link on the right side of this page.

From Believing and Dork to Dork

From Believing and Dork to Dork

From Believing and Dork to Dork

November 28, 2009

The Great White West - Updated at Bottom

Semi-Foolishly, Colin McDermott and I entered the Utah Film Commission's Spot-On Commercial Contest. Being full time students with jobs and a lot of extracurricular activities doesn't constitute a recipe for success but we think we have a good chance of the prize.

Due to our idea we had to venture out beyond Tooele county to the Salt Flats, the single most requested filming location in the state of Utah. We began driving around 1:30PM and continued until we found a spot that worked. None of us really had an idea of where we were going and we were all hopeful it would all work out somehow.

Luckily it did and we got our shots and a bonus trip to Wendover. (we couldn't turn around on the interstate unless we exited, and Wendover was the closest exit to our remote location)

Here are some pictures from the shoot, courtesy of Sarah Young.

Setting up the camera.

Me, Framing the first shot.

Just before the first take.

Did I mention it was super cold? There are no geographical features for miles around and therefore nothing to block the swift desert wind. I'm just glad we only did 5 takes because we lost the sun as soon as we left which would have made it much worse.

The commercial is now finished. Check it out below. I feel it's very avant garde, as if we made something out of nothing, which we did.

Film Commission Commercial from Connor Rickman on Vimeo.

November 24, 2009

Don Giovanni: Wrapped! (mostly)

For the month of November, every weekend I have been involved somehow with the Dada Factory's latest film, "The Tale of Don Giovanni: That Indomitable Hipster."

Rightfully so, as I am the film's producer and one of the actors as well. The most credit should be given to Davey Davis, the writer and director for this film who managed to organize some amazing things to make it all possible. After 3 parties, several sponsorship deals, partnerships with Anarchist organizations and a wicked Alleycat bike race we have finished shooting the film... almost.

So there are one or two more shots to get before we're completely done, then comes the editing and promoting and attempts at distribution but we'll cross those bridges when we come to them.

Here's a video preview of the first shoot we did. That beautiful rack focus was done by me with a Rebel T1i.

The Tale of Don Giovanni: That Indomitable Hipster Teaser- Painting the Ghostbike from Dada Factory on Vimeo.

Here are a few pictures I managed to snag with my iPhone while shooting.

From Don Giovanni Bobsled Trail and Party
Director Davey Davis and Script Supervisor Simon Williams

From Don Giovanni Bobsled Trail and Party
2nd Camera Operator / Production Sound Man Colin McDermott

From Don Giovanni Bobsled Trail and Party
Script Supervisor Simon Williams

From Don Giovanni Bobsled Trail and Party
I found this guy named Jim Heiner who's good at everything film related. I'm glad I have him on my team now, he assembled that jib you see in front of him.

From Don Giovanni Bobsled Trail and Party
My father, filling in for the absent boom operator.

Eventually this film will be edited and completed but for now I must focus my efforts on finishing up my latest project, "Dork to Dork" with director Rebecca Mabey. Soon after I will be appearing in yet another short directed by my longtime friend and co-writer Colin McDermott. After both of these comes 48 Hour Film Project's International Shootout, maybe I'll be done for a while after that...yeah right!

November 21, 2009

Beneath the Waves of: The Little Mermaid

Check it out guys. Penny Caywood and Nicholas Dunn from Youth Theatre at the U wanted me to make a behind the scenes video for their show. Now it's done and available to you, the viewer. Or you, the stalker...

Beneath the Waves of The Little Mermaid from Connor Rickman on Vimeo.

What you see in the film is great, but what you don't see is even more spectacular. The production team managed to get the show together with a measly 3 days of technical rehearsal and a script that never stopped changing.

Penny told me that there were musical number and entire dance sequences that had been choreographed and rehearsed that had to be cut no more than a week before the show!

Thank the cast for being so adaptable and doing a great job despite the constant changes.

The only thing left to fix now is the fact that I didn't get my name in the program.

If you want more information about shows, classes and events from Youth Theatre at the U, you can visit their website at If you think you're too old for this sort of a thing, keep in mind the age range for "The Little Mermaid" was 7 years old to 45 years old. Chances are they can put you somewhere.

November 7, 2009

Believing: Staged Reading

On Thursday last, I had the honor of participating in a staged reading of Matthew Ivan Bennett's new play "Believing." The play is made up of three separate playlets, all with characters struggling with their beliefs. I played Tom, the mostly silent boyfriend to the "highly influenced" Becca. It was a great feat of acting, I had to say nothing in my mouth but everything on my face the entire length of my playlet.

Thanks to Mark Fossen the director and the rest of the cast, Sarah, Jessie, Kylie, Chris, JJ, Rhiannon and Nevin. I hadn't been on stage since March and it was a wonderful experience thanks to all of you. Special thanks to Colleen Lewis for giving us kids the opportunity in the first place.

Here are some pics, not much but they'll give you some idea of tech rehearsal.

From Believing and Dork to Dork
Sarah, Jessie and Kylie studying scripts and awaiting their part of tech.

From Believing and Dork to Dork
The Leona Wagner Blackbox, our venue.

From Believing and Dork to Dork
The Common Darkness of Tech Rehearsal.

November 1, 2009

Post The First!


I'm only really posing this because I want to have something on there when I tell everyone that I'm documenting my experiences. Can't tell people how great you are and have nothing around. This way they'll know I at least spent a couple minutes on it.