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.