November 30, 2010

News from the Cutting Room

I just spent 4 hours in a dark room with a Steenbeck flatbed editing machine and a grease pencil. My whole life I've always cut my films using Final Cut Pro but the manual nature of editing real film is very different. It requires a lot of organization and a lot of balls because once you make a splice, there's no ctrl+z to get you out of it.

I was nervous at first but I have to say, after an hour or so I actually enjoyed editing on the flatbed much more than editing on a computer. I imagine it's mostly because a computer screen generates a lot of light and tires your eyes out but the flatbed displays only a dim analog image taken directly from your film stock.

The film is looking really good and if everything goes well, I'll have a rough cut by the end of the week. In the meantime please enjoy these secondhand digital photos I took of the flatbed viewer. What you're seeing is my film lit by a small bulb and turned around by several mirrors and prisms until it is projected on a piece of glass. They're not the best quality due to the fact that they're essentially pictures of pictures but perhaps they'll be good enough to make everybody want to see the real thing in its full glory. You'll just have to trust me when I say that it looks much better when projected on a big screen.


From Ten

From Ten


From Ten

November 23, 2010

Some Positive Press

A wonderful gentleman wrote a letter to the editor in last Friday's issue of the Trib proclaiming his enjoyment of "Hay Fever." On behalf of the entire production staff and cast I wish to tell Mr. Hall "thank you not only for your support of the production but also for telling others of your experience." You can read his kind words below.

From Plugs

This past weekend I saw the Babcock Theatre production of Noël Coward’s play “Hay Fever.” I had never gone to the Babcock before; I thought that productions starring University of Utah theater students would be too amateurish. I only went this time because I love Coward’s songs and was curious to see a play by him, even a non-musical 1925 comedy.

Well, I was in for a surprise. The play was absolutely hilarious. The audience laughed all the way through. The student actors were excellently trained and had good comic timing. They were fresh, talented and vibrant.

While a non-student production would hire actors more approximating the ages of most of the characters, I doubt it could produce more laughs. Kudos to the cast, director Sarah Shippobotham, and the U.’s theater department and its actor training program.

I’m now going to the U.’s other plays. Next weekend at Studio 155 is “Almost, Maine,” a 2004 “comic, romantic roundelay” (according to The Wall Street Journal) about love lost, found and confounded. Can’t wait to see it. Tickets are just $6.50 — a deal for anyone on a tight entertainment budget.

Maurice Hall

Salt Lake City

November 13, 2010

Awesome Green Screenery

From Plugs

Al is at it again, this time with more green screens, more Red camera and more money! Okay, so I did get paid for this, but more importantly there was some money going towards the use of a Zebra Motion Control Dolly. Think of it as a magical robot that can move a camera over and over again in the same way in order to get several identical takes of the same complex jib or dolly shot.

I'm not quite sure what the project is about, I'll tell you all when it's finished, but I was acting alongside my wonderful girlfriend Sarah Young and the two of us played a young Victorian couple. Check out some of the awesome pictures below!

From Connor Rickman Entertainment Enterprises

From Connor Rickman Entertainment Enterprises

From Connor Rickman Entertainment Enterprises

From Connor Rickman Entertainment Enterprises

November 9, 2010

Wastage - Film Festival Debut!

Special thanks to Jordan Warsoff for this one!

My film, "Wastage," has been selected as part of the official lineup at Brandeis University's IndieLouies Student Film Festival. Jordan was kind enough to send me an application form so it's due to his efforts that this film is making its east coast debut.

I was so excited about it, I 'shopped up some laurels!
From Plugs
The festival runs this weekend, November 12th through the 14th at Brandeis, in a castle (no, really!) If you're in the area, stop by for some free entertainment as well as my film. I, unfortunately will not be able to make it as my commitment to "Hay Fever" doesn't cease until the 14th. But hey, even if you're in Salt Lake, "Hay Fever" represents a piece of Connor Rickman entertainment available to you locally!...and you can watch the film online below.

Wastage from Connor Rickman on Vimeo.

To lovers caught in the turmoil of the Great War.

November 1, 2010

"Hay Fever" at the University of Utah

I'm acting again! This time as Richard Greatham in the University of Utah's production of "Hay Fever" by Noel Coward.

We open on Friday November 5th (that's right, Guy Fawkes day), and run until November 14th. Performances are on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at 7:30pm.

In addition to play Richard, I'm also the dramaturg for the show, so if you'd like to see some of my research in the program note or my contribution to the lobby display you can if you see the show.

Tickets are $7.00 for students, $10.00 for faculty and staff and $13.00 for the general public.

Check out this excerpt from the press release. You can read the whole thing here.

Thanks to my wonderful cast; Elizabeth Summerhays, Nathaniel Hinckley, Andy Ricci, Ana Lemke, Drew Baker, Ruth Jones, Marin Kohler and Anna Schovares. Also a very special thank you to our director Sarah Shippobotham and my dear friend and Stage Manager Christine Moore.

September 23, 2010

"Ten" - My first real film!

I've made a lot of films but I've always made them digitally. This time I decided to make something truly legit and shoot on 16mm celluloid!
The story follows a duel between gentlemen, each taking a pistol and walking ten paces to an uncertain future. It's short and simple but with only 2 minutes and 47 seconds of record time it's about the most I could do.

I have never shot on real film before. I'm currently learning how in my cinematography class but I didn't quite trust myself to do everything completely right. That's why I called in an expert, my friend Margaret King, a graduate of Chapman University's film school and a wonderful DP. I knew I had made the right choice when the first thing she did was start cleaning my lens, something I hadn't even thought of!

Margaret was so great, she even brought in her own expert, a wonderful AC named Al who could set and pull focus like no one I have ever seen.

From Catch up
Very special thanks to both of you for your help. I'm absolutely sure my ambitious plans would not have worked out if it wasn't for my wonderful camera team.

From Catch up
Another shout out to my stellar cast; Jim Heiner, Nels Jorgensen and Stuart Ford. I don't know why you guys keep helping me make movies but it certainly make it much easier when you do. I'm not sure if this film will ever be digitized due to its analog origin but if it is, I'll make sure to post it. In the meantime, I have the daunting task of editing with a razor blade and some glue. A long way off from Final Cut Pro that I promise I won't take for granted any more!

September 10, 2010

Back in Action - LARP Foley

Due to my facial reconstructive surgery, I haven't quite been myself lately. Actually, I haven't really had the strength to do anything but sleep and eat. But school started on August 23rd and I was forced to make myself feel somewhat better for classes.

However now I am feeling much better and today I managed to get back to work. Nick Dunn and Ehren Remal the masterminds behind the screenplay LARP are furiously working to get their film produced. I was called in to record some foley and voiceover for a small animatic made from the storyboards.

From Catch up
Ehren Remal, Nick Dunn, Katie Driscoll and Sarah Young worked as the voice talent for our small pre-production-production.

The recorded scene features the first fight sequence of the film as well as some great lines by the lead character Preston. Stay tuned for many more blog posts featuring 'LARP' as I'm now one of the Associate Producers of the film in addition to playing Lawrence the Blacksmith and acting as the 1st Camera Operator as well.

August 23, 2010

YTU Videos for Teen Session 2010

Another teen session at YTU has come and gone and with it; another round of student produced films.
From Catch up
The partial cast and crew of "Italian's 8"

This year we had a grand total of 4 films written, produced and directed by the students at YTU and edited by yours truly. All of them are pretty silly but were quite a bit of fun to edit. Congratulations to all the students, I know for most of you these were your first films ever. Take a look at the finished products below.








August 2, 2010

Taming of the Shrew

Congratulations to the cast of Salt Lake Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew" on a successful run, most especially my girlfriend Sarah Young who was hit, spit on and objectified multiple times throughout the performance. You did great.
From Catch up
A truly wonderful cast and crew featuring some old friends and a few new ones!

I saw it 3 times, each night with a different energy. I'm proud of everyone involved, in spite of the fact that I wasn't cast =) Mazel Tov!

July 29, 2010

"The Bike Thief" Back from the dead.

Nearly 3 years ago, I acted in a feature film spearheaded by Santa Cruz based filmmaker Chris Tomasso. After spending a glorious weekend by the beach and eating better than I ever had my freshman year of college I headed back to San Francisco awaiting the final cut of "The Bike Thief."

However, life happens, and Chris had a few other projects going on so the final product was put on hiatus for a while. For almost a year I wondered if my performance would ever see the light of day but a friendly email from Chris requesting some voiceover revived my spirits.

"The Bike Thief" is back and better than ever, having been recut a total of 3 times! Below you'll find the trailer. Stay tuned for the final product, I haven't even seen it myself.

July 28, 2010

Producing the Neutrino Project with YTU - UPDATE

The Neutrino Project is a completely improvised, 30 minute film using 3 teams of improvisers who each produce 3 scenes of the film.

Joe Rogan of Jokyr and Jesster fame has been training our YTU students on the art of improvised filmmaking for the past 3 weeks. Meanwhile I have been training myself on the usage of Qlab software and stealing video mixers from Jared Wright in order to make this happen.

The grand equipment list includes 10 FlipVideo cameras, 4 MacBook Pro laptops, a video mixer and a projector all crammed in the balcony of Kingsbury Hall.

The show is on August 6th at 7:00pm on the Kingsbury Stage. Come support Annie, Autumn, Cate, Jaxon, Josh and Vanessa and see their improvised films wind up in the capable hands of me, your video mix-master.


From Catch up
Here's a great shot of the control surface I set up to run the show. Everything went off without a hitch, the video turned out as seamless as it could be. We managed to capture the whole thing to DV tape from the clever FireWire output from the mixer so expect it to show up on this blog very soon.

Special thanks to Stuart Ford who donated his laptop and helped me run the show as well as David Darais and Colin McDermott who also donated laptops. Another big thank you to Jen and Steve Jackson from Grey Company who donated their students to us to be used as slaves during the production process. Sorry for all the running. Finally a most heartfelt thank you to Green Company for pitching in and buying me a copy of Starcraft II so I could play it while I recovered from surgery. You guys are great!

July 24, 2010

LARP Read Through - Let's make this film!

From So Many Readings
The LARP creative team diligently reads.

A few days ago I had the pleasure of reading a very funny script with a group of friends. My former Theatre School co-teacher Nick Dunn teamed up with his friend Ehren Remal to write a hilarious script.

From So Many Readings
Nick's brother Colby Dunn going over the storyboards.

The story follows an MFA Writing student as he tutors an undergraduate and soon learns of the wonderful world of Live Action Role Play. Prophecies, ancient relics and legendary weapons swirl together in a blend of imagination and reality and build to a literally fantastic and climactic battle.

Due to the number of bit parts in the script and the limited number of chairs around the table, I was reading several roles including a blacksmith, rouge soldier, and the town magistrate. I tried to make them all as different as possible although I'm sure a few of them just sounded like slightly altered versions of myself.

From So Many Readings

Sarah was with me as well, reading for Cindel, who is described in the script as a personification of Princess Zelda. How appropriate.

From So Many Readings
A couple of my students from YTU were there as well. Dylan Vessel and Max Huftalin were playing characters named Max and Dylan respectively. Guess they wanted to change it up a little.

Everything at the read went very well and I just received the 30 page business plan for the film today! I've already been emailing it to all my hook-ups in the industry because I want this film to get made so bad. Never have I read a script and felt like the story couldn't survive without the film version being produced. Therefore if you're interested in investing, don't hesitate to call or email me, I'll send the business plan to you right away.

July 8, 2010

48HFP 2010

From Catch up

It was a long night but super fun. I wasn't involved in the production element of this particular film but John Lunbeck, Jim Heiner and I composed most of the writing team for Effervescent Media Works' 48HFP entry for 2010.

I was playing some mini golf at Salt Lake Art Center when I got the call outlining our genre (comedy), prop (an egg), character (Ed Keegan; reporter) and line of dialogue (that's why I'm here). I promptly set down my putter and ran to the brainstorming fortress set up in Rebecca Mabey's grandparent's house.

As Jim, John and I arrived we were met with our fearless director, Brandon Wade Ho and our producer Adam Collet as well as the final member of our writing team Joey Reidhead.

Jim had somehow managed to come up with a wonderful mob-comedy while we were still in the car and although it went through a few changes we ended up using it over the other ideas presented. Way to go Jim!

The story follows a Hand Model who gets mistakenly kidnapped by the Mob and forced to tell his wife the truth about his profession. Featuring witty lines of dialogue provided by all of our sleep deprived selves the story unfolds to become the most fantastic 7 minutes of your life!

The film itself turned out very well. Here are a few stills that I stole from Adam's facebook.

From Catch up

From Catch up

From Catch up
Now for some bad news. For some reason, I'm still not sure, our team turned in the project 6 minutes late. Therefore we were unable to win any of the prizes or qualify for the national competition. Although this is upsetting, I'm still proud of the work that my writing team and I did. This is the first screenplay I've ever written that I haven't produced myself and although it turned out differently than I imagined, it wasn't any better or worse than it was in my head. Great job team! Thanks for bringing life to my words.

June 11, 2010

Cast!

Exciting news everyone!

I have been cast in the University of Utah's upcoming production of "Hay Fever" where I will be playing the role of Richard Greatham. If you recall my previous post The Joys of Casting I recount my experience waiting for the casting decision to be made. Well my patience has paid off and I shall return to the stage this fall.

However that's not all I'll be doing for the show. I'm also a proud recipient of the Theatre Department's Margetts Scholarship which pays me to create a dramaturgical packet for a University show. Therefore I will be researching everything possible for this delightful sitting room comedy and get credited in the program as an actor and as Dramaturg.

This is the sort of theatre that excites me. The sort where I'm not limited to my one role but instead getting my hands dirty in all aspects of the show. My good friend Christine Moore is the stage manager so perhaps I can turn a few wrenches as well!

"Hay Fever" runs November 5-7 and November 10-14, come support me in both my jobs as well as a fantastic cast and crew. See you there!

June 6, 2010

First Paid Film Gig

Due to the agreement I signed I can't talk about the content of the film I helped produce.

But...

I can tell you that I was working once again with John Corser, you may remember him from my accounts of the FilmUtah Launch Party. His company was contracted to make a very awesome video that we shot on the stage at Ron Hill Imagery using their huge grip/lighting package in addition to their Red camera!

Everything about this shoot was pro. The director was flown in from LA and the small crew we had were the best in Utah. I had a wonderful time working with John's company and I hope I get the opportunity to do it again.

I wish I could say more but my Non-Disclosure Agreement prohibits me from saying anything about the film itself. I just wanted everyone to know what a great experience it was working on a real film set for the first time....awesome!

May 25, 2010

First Print Casting

I don't really have an interest in modeling but I got a call from my agency saying they needed models who could mountain bike. Because I'm an actor that can mountain bike, I was pretty close to what they needed.

However, in the world of modeling, one doesn't turn in a headshot and resume but instead a tool called a comp-card is used. Really it's just a photo collage of different "looks" so the booker can see how versatile you are as a model. Because I'm not in any way a model, I stole some pictures that Colin McDermott took of me while I was in Las Vegas and spliced them together with some screen grabs of me biking.


From Plugs
It looks pretty legit despite being thrown together at the last minute. Thanks to Clint Lantz for the photo editing, he made my oddly lit pictures look more normal.

May 12, 2010

The Joys of Casting...

It's been a busy few weeks. I've auditioned for every Theatre Dept. show at the University of Utah and I moved out of my parent's basement. I'll also be auditioning for "Taming of the Shrew" this week at Salt Lake Shakespeare and for "Hamlet" and "Bram Stoker's Dracula" at Pioneer Theatre Company. It's the least I can do to deal with all my "ACTING TALENT!"

The cast list for the Theatre Dept. shows was supposed to be posted last week but apparently there have been developments. I quote...

This is a casting update. I apologise, I always forget how anxious this process makes people. So here's the scoop: Chuck is auditioning for "Hamlet" and "Dracula" on May 20th and 21st. Then he is going to work on putting the casts together and get back to me with his Intern desires. Once he has done that Hugh, Ron, Xan and I can formalise our casts and post. So news will be out by the end of the month not before. Thank you all for your patience and understanding.

Oh the joys of being an actor. Nothing ever happens when you want it to, and when it does, something unexpected comes up. The constant guessing game is stressful, but if you're willing to deal with it, you will be rewarded. I hope I am...

April 28, 2010

Come see me in two films!

Thanks to my relationship with many people in the University of Utah's Advanced Film Production class I will be appearing in two films this Friday! I'm even on the poster for the event!

From Plugs
You will see me as jaded and disrespectful lifeguard in Colin McDermott's film "On Guard." Also catch me as a hopeless romantic nerd named Chris in Rebecca Mabey's film "Dork Knight." I had a blast making both of these films and if you'd like to see the fruits of my labor, you can! Here's the info:

Persistent Visions, Student Film Night
Friday, April 30 7:30pm - 10:00pm
At the University of Utah at the Post Theater
245 South Fort Douglas Boulevard
Salt Lake City, UT
It will be $5 at the door, $4 for students

You can see my acting teacher, Mark Fossen, in one of the films as well. I have no idea which one it is but I'm sure it's good. I'll try and post some clips of these films when I can. I have a feeling they'll show up on my reel sooner or later.

April 24, 2010

Don Giovanni Alleycat Race

As a publicity stunt for the film, "Don Giovanni..." director Davey Davis organized Salt Lake's largest ever alleycat race. As producer of the film, I was definitely required to participate but I wasn't going to be caught with my pants down on my first alleycat.

Enter Stuart Ford, a very close friend of mine and the face of my film "Wastage." Stuart had very good luck one day when he found a vintage Schwinn race bike on the side of the road with a sign that said "free" taped to it. This bike is worth about a billion times more than free and sprints super fast despite being more than 25 years old. My bike was out of commission due to a broken brake so I phoned in a favor from Stuart. I raced on the Schwinn.

An alleycat works like a scavenger hunt on bikes. You're given a list of locations with specific tasks or puzzles for each one. It is up to the racer to decide the best path to take between locations as well as the order of the locations. Therefore the race is just as much about planning a good route than it is about how fast you ride.

I formed a riding group with my long time friends Lauren Wood and Nels Jorgensen. The three of us set off into the city and aside from one backtracking section we chose a great route. About halfway through the race we all decided that we weren't going to win the race so we may as well stop for a burrito on the way. After a short Barbacoa break we powered up a huge hill and finished the race in 28th place out of 67 total racers. Not bad considering our extra stop for food.

One of the stops along the way was a photo-op on your bike. These were snapped by the talented Tom Fleming.


From Don Giovanni Bobsled Trail and Party

From Don Giovanni Bobsled Trail and Party
All of us look pretty good despite having been riding for an hour. It was a super fun time, but Lauren and Nels definitely made it the highlight of April.

April 19, 2010

NAB Show Quick Update

Almost a year ago my friends and I cobbled together a team of film people to make "Halcyon" for the Salt Lake City 48 Hour Film Project. Thanks to some good attitudes, good people and a lot of good luck, we took home "Best use of line of dialogue" award as well as "Best Film!"

A perk of winning the local competition was access to the National Association of Broadcasters Show 2010 for free and a chance for our film to compete nationally.

We screened our film but unfortunately we didn't win any of the national prizes. No worries though, because the NAB show floor was more than enough of a prize.

Rather than blog endlessly about all the crazy products and innovations present on the show floor, I'll leave you with a picture of me and some links to the crazy new products of 2010.


From Plugs
All of these products are brand new for 2010. I think most are totally crazy, I spent many hours listening to how they worked without much comprehension on my part.

The Arri Alexa: Sort of like a Red but it records to 2K Sony SxS cards in ProRes 444 codec so the post-workflow is super simple. It's also supposed to be easier to use than the Red because the menus are simpler. The viewfinder is able to be calibrated just like a production monitor and the cooling system will never contaminate the electronics of the camera because it's separate from the imager. It also shoots very well in low light, better than the Red. Here are some videos I found.

http://gizmodo.com/5516152/arri-alexa-camera-shoots-beautiful-video-with-little-light


Zeiss Compact Primes for EF Mount: Zeiss just released a new series of their compact prime lenses to use on Canon DSLR's. The mounts are the same EF mount found on the Canon lenses so they don't need an adapter and they cover the full-frame sensor size so they're compatible with all the video DSLR cameras. If you make enough money to upgrade your camera in the future, the mount can be removed and replaced with a PL mount. Therefore the lens will always connect directly to the camera whether it has an EF mount or a PL mount.

http://www.zeiss.de/c125756900453232/Contents-Frame/042839dea0e28e5fc125756f003e6703


Panasonic Micro 4/3 camcorder: Panasonic put a chip from it's GH1 DSLR into a camcorder body and is planning to release it 3rd Quarter this year. This means Panasonic will be the first to offer the shallow DOF of a DSLR system without the limitations of a still camera body (no audio, awkward to hold etc.) With the control over DOF and the better light sensitivity that a larger chip offers, this camera will most likely revolutionize low-budget cinema production.

http://philipbloom.co.uk/2010/04/11/new-panasonic-m43-camcorder-announced-ag-af100/


Redrock Micro Remote follow-focus: This thing is just crazy. It's an integrated iPhone and remote follow focus hardware for use with manual focus lenses. Basically a rangefinder calculates the distance to your focus subject making it easy to find the correct focus mark on your lens. What's more, a motor will move the lens for you meaning you can control focus by remote from a distance. I didn't do a very good job of explaining it so you better watch the video.

http://www.dslrnewsshooter.com/2010/04/14/nab-2010-iphone-control-follow-focus-from-redrockmicro/


Some people for Germany managed to make a 3D TV that you don't need glasses for. It's not perfect because there are some places you can stand that makes it difficult to see well but if you're standing in the right place it's awesome. I wish I could explain more but the German man gave me a very scientific explanation that I don't remember. The link is for one of the TV's they were showing off.

http://www.markstechnologynews.com/2008/05/phillips-presents-3d-tv-without-glasses.html


Canon has a new camcorder to replace the XH series. It records to compact flash cards with 422 colorspace and a 50 mb/s data rate.

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=175&modelid=20322


Panasonic released an update to their HPX-300 camera

http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ModelDetail?storeId=11201&catalogId=13051&itemId=406090&catGroupId=34401&surfModel=AG-HPX370&displayTab=O


You need to check this guy out. He modified a segway scooter so it could be driven without hands. Then he mounted a Red on a gyro and a monitor on the other end so he can chase action smoothly. He's sort of like a transformer / human hybrid camera operator. The videos he has on his site are awesome.

http://www.ar-operator.com/

April 8, 2010

Wastage - The Class Cut

I finally came up with a title.

This is "Wastage" the film I have been working on for a few months now. It is not the final cut, merely the version I've turned into my teacher for grading. I have no doubt it will go through some refinements but overall I'm pleased with the result.

Enjoy.

Wastage from Connor Rickman on Vimeo.

The future of this film depends on you, the viewer. Feel free to ask questions, give comments or criticism as I am aspiring to make this the best it could possibly be. Thanks for watching, and you can read all about the process of making it just down the list of my most recent posts.

Don Giovanni Premiere

From Don Giovanni Bobsled Trail and Party

You may recall a while ago I produced a film. Now it is finished and fit for public viewing, but in the spirit of the film we're not just going to screen it, we're going to have an alleycat beforehand!

All the details can be found by clicking the title of this post but here's the quick and dirty.

Saturday, April 24th
Alleycat: 6pm at Liberty Park Flagpole, $3
Screening: 8pm at the Post Theatre, $3 (Free for alleycat racers)


Not excited yet? Check out Mr. Davis' trailer to wet your appetite.

Official Trailer for The Tale of Don Giovanni: That Indomitable Hipster from Dada Factory on Vimeo.

This was a real community effort and I'm quite impressed with Davey Davis' commitment, passion and publicity skills when it comes to this project. I may be the producer but he's the director and the true creator of the whole endeavor. Come see his amazing work, featuring a bit of my work as well. :)

March 30, 2010

Crazy Film Shoot - Somehow it worked

I finally took Film Production 1 from the University of Utah. I've been meaning to take this class for years but I just never got around to it. However the years of knowing that I would eventually take this class gave me a long time to think of a concept and know exactly how I wanted it to turn out.

As soon as I enrolled in the class I began pre-production. I gathered my contacts, finally wrote a script and began planning and scheduling. I blocked out three days in March to shoot in four separate locations. The first were both in Salt Lake and both took place on the same day. The second day was in Ogden and the third day was in Park City. Wow.

The story revolves around a young Soldier leaving his woman behind to fight for his country during World War One. Therefore I needed period looking locations, costumes and props, all of which were sourced from very nice people, made in my garage or in the worst case, rented. I spent two weeks before the shoot running all over the valley making sure I had everything I needed for the pivotal three days and eventually amassed a small warehouse's worth of items in my basement.

When the shooting day came I was ready. The first day went off so well that we were wrapped with our first location 2 hours early and wrapped with our second an hour early. That was especially nice because the crew and I got to go back to my house and view the rushes and make some important notes. The second day got off to a slow start but once again went completely smoothly. I ended up cutting shots from my shot list because I thought we wouldn't have enough time but we got done so early that I got to put them back in! That never happens in film. If I keep scheduling like that I'll have a job for the rest of my life.

The third day was met with and unfortunate lack of a Jib that I was supposed to rent but it turned out okay anyway. We got done 2 hours early which was good because with the reflective snow in Park City everyone got sunburned, if we had stayed any longer we'd all have cancer.

I then spent little pockets of time editing the film until finally last night I made a big push and managed to get a final version done before midnight (when it was due). I'm not completely satisfied with it yet but for purposes of the class it worked out just fine and the only real problems are very small.

Here are some screen grabs from the film. All ungraded currently but someday they'll have a look to them.

Awesome photographer extraordinaire Tom Fleming took some great behind the scenes photos. I encourage you check out his Flickr page to see them all.





March 8, 2010

Burma VJ: How Connor made it to the Oscars!

From Plugs
Last year at Sundance I was presented with a unique opportunity. I was assigned to record the filmmaker interview series for X96's "Radio From Hell Show." Kerry, Bill and Gina were broadcasting live from Sundance on two days of the week and broadcasting recorded interviews the rest of the week. It was my job to put the interviews on video for broadcast on youtube.

Although none of the videos I made actually ended up on youtube, (I'm still not sure why) I got to fraternize with many filmmakers, actors and even some talent managers. The most important of them all however, was director Andres Ostergaard of the documentary film "Burma VJ" currently nominated for an Academy Award. The film was getting it's premiere screening at Sundance the day I met him and he was in need some some emergency services.

Before I get into the story however, if you haven't seen "Burma VJ," it's about a squadron of underground video journalists in Burma, a closed country in terms of media. Nothing goes in or out without going through a government censor. It is the job of these amateur VJ's to document real life in Burma and smuggle the tapes to the outside world to raise awareness of the oppression and violence within the country.

Apparently the festival cut of his film was not satisfactory enough for him, so Andres decided to make some last minute tweaks before the screening. Although he was happy with what his editor had put together, the previously recorded narration from the star of the film (his name must be kept secret to ensure his safety) did not satisfy the needs of the story. In other words, the images on the screen needed some explanation in order to make sense to the audience.

This is where I come in. Because we were a radio station, Andres assumed we would have recording equipment with which to record his much needed narration. We did, in fact, have the equipment he needed, but it was being used to record interviews and wasn't available. Luckily, I brought my laptop and my USB audio interface and upon hearing this, Andres and I began to look for a place to record.

Radio From Hell was broadcasting from the Harley Davidson shop in Park City, which is very open and echoey, but I managed to find a closet filled with T-Shirts that made a great makeshift recording studio. I set up my laptop and interface and gave the star of the film (The Burma VJ himself) a microphone.

Using GarageBand he recorded several takes of his new narration and I exported the files to my hard drive. Andres gave me his email address and I promptly emailed him the audio files. I'm not sure if the audio I recorded ever ended up in any subsequent cuts of the film but it was definitely in the premiere screening at Sundance which is very exciting.

Although "Burma VJ" did not win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, the very fact that it was nominated and I participated in some way, however small, to the process makes me feel wonderful about the things I could do for any film from any part of the world.


February 15, 2010

FilmUtah Launch Party

In August I got an email that announced the arrival of an upstart film industry magazine unique to the state of Utah. Being a poor student I couldn't afford the advertising rates but I did reply to the email with a request to intern for the company. My request was heeded and I became: Connor Rickman, The Enthusiastic FilmUtah intern.

Since my volunteer efforts with the company began I have been involved in selling ad space, brainstorming ideas for the future of the company and assisting with the events hosted by the organization.

My crowning achievement, however, was the article I wrote about film schools for the premiere issue.


From Plugs
If you can't read the article from the picture above, you may use the link below to see the whole magazine. Then look for the page that looks like the picture.

http://www.filmutah.org/flipping_book/index.php

The official launch party was at the 3D lounge on Main Street in Park City during Sundance. The music was playing, the tequila was flowing and the picture on the TV's were all jumping out at you. Everyone who's anyone (and a lot of people who are no one) came to the party to mingle with Utah's film industry professionals. Over the course of the night I met several directors, talent managers, producers, costume designers and a lot of aspiring actors. If there's anything of which Utah has a surplus, it is aspiring actors.


From Plugs

This is the only picture I have from the whole night and it's impossibly small. Use your imagination to see how much fun I'm having. The people from left to right are: Jim Heiner, Victor Rickman, Connor Rickman, Sarah Young, Colin McDermott and Katie Stazskow.


I managed to keep working the whole night and only got sidetracked a couple of times to talk to important people and get myself into trouble with the local talent. I should be an intern for everything because if the parties are this good, there's no way I could be unhappy.

February 4, 2010

Crazy Sundance Day, Possibly the Best Ever

Ever have a day where everything goes terribly right? I did during the Sundance Film Festival 2010, it was the perfect day to have it.
From Sundance 2010
Here's Sarah in front of the "step and repeat" that's what it's called I guess.

A gentleman named Walter Harris who was my group leader last August while I was in Los Angeles with American Pavilion said he had a volunteer job for me. The job in question was at a party for the Jefferson Parish Louisiana Film Office. Anyone who is shooting, has shot or is looking to shoot a film in Jefferson Parish (New Orleans area), comes to this party.

Some past participants of the American Pavilion program were volunteering as well but Sarah's job and mine was to hand out flashing LED Mardi Gras beads to the guests. Two open bars and a buffet full of Cajun food and a huge dessert table made the volunteer effort a major win.

Sarah and I talked to a lot of industry professionals from Louisiana but one in particular was a gentleman named Alan Donnes, whose name tag said he was from National Lampoon. Apparently he was the writer/producer of the new National Lampoon film premiering at the Slamdance film festival just up the street. Because they had shot the film in New Orleans he was invited to the party, which was incredibly lucky for Sarah and I.

After chatting a bit about the film and what he does, Sarah and I were invited to continue our job of handing out beads at Alan's film premiere. Alan said they were understaffed and could use some extra help.

As the Mardi Gras party came to a close Sarah and I packed up the remaining beads and began to trek up Main Street to the Treasure Mountain Inn, the site of Slamdance. Upon entering the Inn we were immediately intimidated by the large group of people present but eventually they all entered their respective screening rooms and Sarah and I sat down and waited for Alan's premiere to start.

As we were waiting Alan walked by and said,
"You don't have to sit around like idiots. Not that you are idiots but come with me."

Alan took us to the Slamdance main office and gave us both all access passes to the festival. This opened up the possibility to enter the filmmaker's lounge which we promptly did. The lounge in question was sponsored by Pravda Vodka and Monster Energy drink so there was an unlimited supply of both. Copies of IndieSlate magazine and bags of popcorn were present on the few tables available. We sat down and talked to Alan about trying to be actors, trying to make it in the entertainment world and all the things we were up to. We also had a surprise visit from a Japanese journalist who hung out with us for a long time and was very nice, probably because he though we were important.


From Sundance 2010
We got free sunglasses and "House Jam" CD's upon entering the exclusive Filmmaker's lounge.

Alan asked if Sarah and I wouldn't mind taking tickets at the door of the theatre because he had gotten a message on his phone that the venue was quite small and the tickets were overbooked, it was our responsibility to make sure the right people got in.

It was at this point that I found out the stars of this film, entitled "Snatched," were some semi-famous actors. People like Johnathan Silverman, Andrew McCarthy, Ernest Borgnine, and Jay Thomas who you may recognize from "Cheers."

Suddenly I felt much more important than I did when pretending to be important around the Japanese journalist. As I was going over the list of people I was supposed to let in Sarah taps me on the shoulder and says,

"Look, it's Bob Saget" and it actually was.

Bob Saget had come to see the film as well and now I would be taking his ticket at the door, what an honor. Eventually everyone sat down and Sarah ventured into the screening room to deliver a message to Alan and, according to her, Bob Saget smiled at her. She came back very excited.

Eventually everyone had filed into the screening room and Sarah and I took our seats on the front row with Alan. Imagine the two of us sitting with the producer of a National Lampoon film. So yeah, he wasn't James Cameron but it was still cool.

The film itself was about a man who goes to donate a kidney to his brother and accidentally gets a sex change instead. It was very National Lampoon. After the screening ended there was a Q and A session with the audience and nobody asked any questions to the actors or director. After a long silence Sarah finally asks,

"What kind of research did you do for your role?"

Everyone laughed and Johnathan Silverman whose character was wrongfully given a vagina in the film said,

"I don't know...I saw one once."


From Sundance 2010
The cast and director.

From Sundance 2010
Alan Donnes the producer.

After the screening we had cleaned up the theatre and Sarah and I began the journey out the door when we were confronted in the hall by Bob Saget.

"I'm Bob, by the way" he says.

Stunned the two of us went to talk to him and it turns out he's just a great guy. I told him how I saw him perform stand-up at the Olympics and he said how great a show it was. He also asked what it is we did and seemed genuinely interested in us. That Bob Saget is dirty but very personable. Sarah got a picture.

We hit the road soon after being invited to stay in Andrew McCarthy's condo, because he wasn't going to be using it I guess. We decided to drive home in the worst snow storm ever rather than risk rape by Hollywood types.

At the end of it all, Sarah and I ate Taco Bell and laughed together for a long time. It was a ridiculous day but also a great one.

January 22, 2010

Real Estate Videos

Being a poor student, a poor actor and a poor video producer means looking for work wherever you can get it. Luckily an enterprising gentleman named Stu Miller had use of my talents.

Stu owns a condo in Kimball Junction, just outside of Park City UT. I found him through craigslist when he was asking if anyone was available to shoot some video of the property. I headed up there last summer and put together a quick highlight reel to showcase his condo to potential renters.



A few months later Stu called me again and had me do 3 more! Real estate video was never a career option that crossed my mind but it's worked out pretty well so far. I wonder how many side gigs you need to get before it becomes a main gig? Perhaps realtors will be knocking on my door someday for some cheap publicity of their properties. It's seemed to work pretty well for Stu.






If you or anyone you know wants to rent these condos, you can find all the information you need at www.parkcityskiplaces.com.


Don Giovanni Updates

Here's a new clip from the film. So far only this and the Ghostbike teaser have been leaked so check it out. This guy is a mad biker and appears to be riding faster than most rocket powered sleds.

January 19, 2010

Awesome Props! Great Minds Think Alike.

This BAMF has a huge gun!

From Plugs

This shot from The Asylum's Gone Fishin' caught my eye not because of the largeness of the weapon but of its origin. Colin McDermott and I purchased the same Nerf gun, on which this gun is based, a few years ago just for fun. However, when Colin entered film school and made his first short, The Golden Rule, our Nerf gun was spray painted black and repurposed as a sniper rifle. It looked not dissimilar from the one this action hero is holding.

Furthermore, when Colin and I worked on Halcyon (48 Hour Film Project Winner, Salt Lake City, 2009), we gave the gun a dusting of silver spray paint in order to make it look more worn and weathered. The gun never appeared in the film and was lost sometime afterwards never to be found again. It will live forever in our hearts and minds.

Also, if you're not familiar with The Asylum you can check them out by clicking on the title of this article. The Asylum is a production company in Burbank CA that specializes in low budget Novelty, Parody and slightly abnormal content. They were the ones who brought you Snakes on a Train, Sunday School Musical, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, and Megapiranha. The speed at which they are able to produce films is incredible. Most have a turnaround time of only a few months and several are produced each year. They cater to a very niche market but are definitely worth checking out. No heavy stories or political undertones, just guys having fun with cameras and big guns.

January 16, 2010

"For Robbing the Dead" and "42nd Street" Disappointing Audition Experiences

I'm first and foremost an actor. Despite most of this blog showcasing my exploits in video production I am and always will be an actor.

That being said in the month of January I had two major audition opportunities for large projects. The first was an independent feature film entitled "For Robbing The Dead." The film was given SAG status and Aaron Eckhart was slated for the lead role. I auditioned for a character called Wood Reynolds who's a bit of a cowboy and required a southern/frontier accent. I studied the accent for about a week before the audition using Robert Blumenfeld's "Accents: A Manual for Actors" and listening to Robert perform the accents on his CD. On the day of the audition, I went in, read the part and was told "very good work today" by the director. This made me feel good.

A few weeks later my Agency called to announce that I had been called back for the role of Wood and that I was the only actor from the Agency who was called back for any role! This made me feel even better and I set off to memorize the script I had previously auditioned for. This time I made a some more apparent character choices and attempted to refine my accent further. By the time I had arrived for the callback I was feeling very confident.

Things changed however as I entered the room. First of all, the callback wasn't done standing up like the audition was. I was to be seated in a chair with the camera aimed at my face and not at my whole body. This made me nervous because I'm such a theatre person and therefore the standing and moving audition that I had first done was much more preferable. However I performed the scene and did a pretty good job while seated. Unfortunately the director informed me that I had made the wrong character choice and instead of playing the role angry and betrayed as I had practiced, I now needed to play it frightened.

If I may now share a quote from my acting teacher Mark Fossen: "If you're acting and you suddenly forget your lines, chances are you're doing something right."

In other words, focusing on your character causes you to lose your lines, which is exactly what happened as I performed the scene with this new emotion. As I thought in my head about how I became frightened and how it affected me differently than being angry, I missed my second to last line and ruined the rhythm of the scene. I was told "good job" by the director and I left. Haven't heard from them since and I never will.

My second audition experience comes from a desire to perform "42nd Street" at Pioneer Theatre Company. Six weeks ago I couldn't sing at all but thanks to David Schmidt from GottaSing vocal studios I was in shape and ready to nail the audition. I went to tap class with Janet Grey as much as possible in the weeks leading to the audition, and doubled up on voice lessons for two weeks in a row in order to get my song perfect. I have never prepared this much for an audition in my entire life, but then again, I have never wanted to be in a show so bad.

"42nd Street" is my dream show because it features lots of tap dancing, a skill of which I have a surplus of experience. I was determined to make it the best audition ever. I walked in as confident as ever with my song in a black binder for the pianist and my resume clearly demonstrating my dance experience. I sang "Stairway to Paradise" in the best possible way and was expecting to be released from the audition room when the choreographer asked if I could demonstrate a few tap steps. I did a time step and then transitioned into some rhythmic improv, none of which were very good because I was dancing in my sneakers. I recounted some of my dance background and left the room with three smiling judges.

I told everyone about how good I felt and how I would be surprised if I wasn't called back. To make a long story short however, I wasn't called back. I have no idea why but I guess I didn't fit into their idea of the show somehow. I have never been more disappointed in a director's decision not to cast me simply because I have never worked so hard for an audition and as far as I can see I did nothing wrong. Such is the nature of the business however. I may never get another shot at "42nd Street" and if I do, I may not be in a position to pursue it anyway. I know I did my best and all that cliché B.S. but it doesn't make it hurt any less. In fact it makes it worse because there exists no reason in my mind why I wouldn't have been called back, and now my six weeks of intense preparation seem like a waste of time and money. It's going to take a while to recover from this one, especially because I'll never know what decision was made to not make my phone ring at all last night...

This is not the end however. This is just the beginning. There will be many more auditions like this one and yet there will be many more that turn out well. The only thing to do is try harder, do better, be wanted. Perhaps this is a minor setback in the coming age of Connor, but it is by no means an end.

January 15, 2010

Smog Lake City, the triumph of DSLR's

My friend Colin just purchased a Canon 7D for his digital photography class. The great thing about this camera for me however is that it shoots full 1080p video! Colin and I have yet to shoot any video on it but we did set up the camera for optimum video acquisition thanks to Philip Bloom.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Philip Bloom he's the pioneer behind DSLR cinematography. Recently he had a contest on his website where readers could submit limericks about DSLR cameras for a chance to win a DSLR training DVD. Of the five winners I was not one but I did receive an honorable mention and therefore was given a discount. Furthermore I was cited on the Canon 7D page of Philip's website for praising the training video after I had gotten it. An added bonus is that I'm right at the top of the list! Check it out here:



Despite not having shot anything on Colin's 7D my friend Davey Davis took his Rebel T1i out to Salt Lake City's Main Street and shot some beautiful images in the nasty smog we've been having here recently. I love this video because it really shows what DSLR cameras can do even without proper video lighting and lengthy exposure setups. Also, make sure you stay tuned for some great DSLR cinematography in Davey's upcoming film "The Tale of Don Giovanni: That Indomitable Hipster" produced by yours truly.


Smog Lake City: Main Street from Dada Factory on Vimeo.

"A Joyful Christmas" Now on DVD!

That's right, Utah Light Opera and GottaSing! Vocal Studio's choir concert of "A Joyful Christmas" is now on DVD. It's available for purchase through me for $20, but if you mention this post in your email I'll give you a 20% discount!

The concert features amazing soloists as well as both high school and college students, a few of which I've worked with before. They're all amazing give a dazzling performance.

To order your DVD, just send me an email to connor.rickman@gmail.com. I'll make sure I get back to you with my paypal information or we can perform an in person transaction as well.

DVD's can also be purchased from David Schmidt of GottaSing! or Shalee Schmidt of Utah Light Opera. You can contact them on their website at www.gottasing.com.