December 4, 2013

#Hashtag Spoof for Rowland Hall

In the world of corporate video you're usually shooting talking head interviews or recording a speech. Once in a while though, you get a chance to work with some surprisingly talented school principals as they perform a parody of the Jimmy Fallon/Justin Timberlake #Hashtag sketch.

It turns out that Mr. Lee Thomsen and Mr. Tyler Fonarow both have some pretty decent acting chops which helped this video rocket to the top of Rowland Hall's YouTube channel with 10x the average number of views!

We cut together a series of outtakes as well. See them below!

December 2, 2013

Otter Creek

For the past few months Ex Machina has been working with local folk duo Otter Creek to produce a series of live performance videos showcasing their amazing musicianship.

Otter Creek is the product of Peter and Mary Danzig, two highly-skilled musicians who play guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and almost anything else you want to hear. Check out their performance of "East Colorado" below:

Check out more videos from Ex Machina and Otter Creek by clicking here.

November 13, 2013

Taking the New "Point B" Trailer to American Film Market

Before I talk about our grand road trip (#conorvsconnor), I'll just let you watch this gem!

Point B - Trailer from Connor Rickman on Vimeo.

Special thanks to Joel Petrie from Parking Garage Pictures who cut that for us.

"Point B" director Conor Long and myself headed down to Los Angeles to meet fellow Point B-er Elli Legerski for this year's American Film Market. The goal: find someone to distribute "Point B!"

Neither Conor or I had any idea of what to expect but we came prepared!

Business cards, screener DVDs, posters, pitch books and the most enthusiastic pair of human beings ever descended upon Los Angeles! 

American Film Market takes place in a giant hotel in Santa Monica where every room is rented out by a production company, distributor or studio. Filmmakers looking to sell projects can come and meet acquisitions representatives from various companies to show them trailers and press materials.

Usually, people like us pay for credentials to be able to do this but my cousin Corbin Timbrook shared a little secret. The public areas of the market are open to anyone and anyone can get the literature printed by the market which contains contact info for each room and therefore each company. So rather than pay $400 for the privilege of talking to some Hollywood types, do this:

1. Research every company, big or small, that has distributed movies similar to yours in the past.

2. Figure out which of those companies are going to be at AFM.

3. Once you get to the market, get a copy of the directory and call every company on your list. Try and get a meeting. More often than not, they'll at least let you show the trailer and drop off a screener. Because you don't have credentials, you won't be able to get through security to the many hotel room/offices, but each suite has guest passes and will come get you at the elevators if they want to see what you have.

4. Pitch your finished film to everyone who said 'yes' to a meeting. Be prepared to pitch other projects too, because many times distributors want more.

5. Talk to as many people as you can. Everyone knows everyone else, so be personable.

6. Follow up with everyone you took meetings with after the market. 

7. For any and all offers, read your contacts carefully. Even better: get a lawyer to read them!

8. Finally, think long-term. You may not get a lot of money for your project, but establishing a relationship with a distribution company may help you make your future projects.

We did exactly this for 3 days, although we were learning as we went along! 

The atmosphere is very similar to a film festival. Everyone wants to schmooze, everyone wants to party, everyone wants to pretend to be famous. Pretty much my idea of the perfect weekend.

We also got a chance to check out the American Film Institute Festival. Elli managed to get us on a list for the filmmaker party. Apparently George Clooney was there but I didn't see him. We also got on a list to meet a baby tiger. Scroll down for that picture!

Watch for some more exciting news about the potential distribution of "Point B" coming up soon in a later post. We've received a few contracts and are already looking ahead to the future!

Here are some pictures of our adventure, lots of festival fashion from me as always!

God willing, we'll be back next year. Bigger, faster and sexier!

October 31, 2013

I Directed Something! - "Deep Focus" for DCFC

I have no real interest in directing. I don't know much about the craft nor is it my goal to become a director. However, every once in a while, one has to get outside his or her comfort zone and play around a bit. That's exactly what I did with "Deep Focus," my submission to the SLC Demon Chaser Film Challenge.

I assembled much the same team (plus a few key additions) for this project as I did for this year's 48-Hour Film Project.

We knocked out principal photography in one day and rounded it out with a few hours of pickup shots. Then it was off for some editing and music before making its way into the hands of the festival producers.

Deep Focus from Connor Rickman on Vimeo.

As this was my first foray into the horror genre, we didn't win any awards but we did place high enough to be added to an anthology feature made from 10 of this year's horror shorts. Said feature should be available next Halloween on Zombie.TV

July 20, 2013

(Life)Style - Grey/Purple Gingham and Chambray

Heading out for a night on the town in Park City, Utah tonight.

Black Shawl Collar Cardigan by Gap, Grey/Purple Gingham Shirt by Calibrate, Chambray Tie by Aldo.
Not Pictured: Jeans - Levi's 511, Grey Suede Bucks by Land's End.

July 16, 2013

I am Downtown - Grand Prize Winners!

I am Downtown 2.0 - Grand Prize Winner 2013 from Connor Rickman on Vimeo.


Thanks to everyone who liked our video on YouTube and some fantastic judges, Ex Machina's submission for the SLC Downtown Alliance's "I am Downtown" video contest has won the $5000 grand prize!

We are absolutely ecstatic about this. We could further explain our feelings on the matter but ABC 4 News interviewed us and you can see exactly what our reactions were. Check it out below.

As it was mentioned in the video, the money will be used as seed money for Ex Machina Films. We're now one step closer to a legitimate business! LLC status, here we come.

June 13, 2013

2 in a row! - SLC 48hfp Winners!

Al Kessler Centennial Squadron has done it again! Thanks to some amazing teammates from the past year and a few new additions, we took home the 2013 Salt Lake City 48-Hour Film Project Grand Prize for "Best Film!"

Check out the film below!

Outlaws - Best Film: Salt Lake City 48hfp 2013 from Connor Rickman on Vimeo.

We sent a skeleton crew out to Torrey UT the night before the competition began to film the redrock scenes and kept the main unit here in SLC to film everything else. We even had some helicopter footage, although it never made it in because it looked like crap.

The film will go on to compete against all the other city winners at "Filmapalooza" the 48-Hour Film Project international competition. The top 10 films from this festival will screen at the Cannes Short Film Corner!

This year "Filmapalooza" is taking place in New Orleans. I've never been, but I'm sure it's going to be absolutely amazing! Be prepared to hear about that in a later post. In the meantime, check out some behind the scenes pictures. Especially the ones with Colin McDermott and I in some rad suits!

May 6, 2013

Ex Machina - Website Now Live!

It's been more than a year in the making but as of today my film production company Ex Machina Films has a website.

Thanks to the members: Michael Burnet, Jamie Greenland and Nicholas Dunn.

Special thanks to webmaster Gordon Dunn and graphic artist Jake Dickey for all time they donated into making this site.

April 29, 2013

Funeral Detail Screening - May 4th, 7pm at the Post Theater

You may have remembered my previous post about shooting a film called "Outprocessing" back in November. Since then, the film has been cut, colored, mixed, re-cut, re-dramaed, re-comedied and re-built into its final form. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you..."Funeral Detail."

Since the last time I wrote about this film, Dustin has employed Taylor Glenn, a long-time collaborator of mine, as the editor and entrusted the film's score to Christopher Doucet. 

To see this sure-to-be masterpiece, come down to the Post Theater on the University of Utah campus this Saturday May 4th at 7pm. Tickets are free! They couldn't be freer!

Read my previous post about making this film to hear some insight of the production process and to hear a bit about what the film is about.

I will say now, however, that working with this particular group of people has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Dustin's dedication to this project was contagious and right after the first read-through we had all caught on to his vision. It's truly an honor to be allowed to share something so personal with another artist and help bring his vision to life.

Dustin graduates from the University of Utah's MFA filmmaking program the day before the screening. After that, he's spending the summer in Turkey and Taiwan to begin the next chapter of his life. Please join me in celebrating what's next for Dustin as he says goodbye to Utah.

April 28, 2013

"Tonight" - Cover by Kyle Khou and Kandyce Marie

Last week, I headed over to Audio West in Provo UT for an in-studio music video with local vocalists Kyle Khou and Kandyce Marie. Here is what we created...

This is my second video working with Kyle who is an amazing artist and just released his first music video. (Now if we can just get him to hire me for the next one!)

This song hasn't even hit top-40 yet, but I expect we'll see it way up on the charts soon. Kyle and Kandyce's version, however, is an improvement on the original!

Become a fan, follow on Twitter and get all the updates on Kyle and Kandyce's respective websites.

April 24, 2013

AMUSIUM - Favorite Game [Official Video] Released!

Russell Huiskamp, better known by his stage name AMUSIUM, and I collaborated on a new music video for his upcoming EP "Favorite Game." (Available 04/24)

I believe this song is perfect for people like me that grew up during the "PlayStation Generation." As children of the modern world, we've all dealt with the emotions, both good and bad, inspired by video games. Just as the generation before discovered with television, and the next generation has with social media, we have discovered the possibility of escapism within every new cartridge or disc. "Playing the pain away" is something that we've all done, be it amongst friends or alone.

Without a doubt, this was the easiest video project I've ever put together. Russell and I continually discussed the phenomenon of how the pieces seemed to fall together. Everything from the Laundromat location, to the rental of the dolly and track went so smoothly, we almost couldn't believe it.

Therefore, to say that anybody "made" this video seems like an overstatement. It's almost as if the pieces of the video were simply waiting to be guided into place, which is strange because both mine and Russell's respective concepts were quite nebulous at the start.

The way in which the video was made was quite a departure from any of my other projects. The Laundromat, Hair Stylist and Tollbooth locations were all filmed first. Russell and I then put together a rough sketch of the final video in Adobe Premiere during lunch. We used different colored solids to represent the different locations and used an additional colored solid to represent video game footage that we would capture later.

With this rough outline in mind, we captured footage from StarFox 64 by pointing the camera at Russell's parent's HDTV and using a Mac-based emulator to play it while upscaling it to fit the HDTV. The StarFox footage was then dropped into the timeline of our rough outline along with several pre-selected clips we wanted projected on the wall. This was then exported to be fed to the projector in our final location.

Using various dolly speeds, we then filmed several angles  of Russell singing the song and a few special insert shots as well. Therefore, the video you see, is really two videos. One being projected on the wall within the other.

I have so much more I could say about this song, the video, and the process of making it but I'll simply leave you with one closing remark.

It's often said that "the best things in life are free" and while I agree with that sentiment I must now also believe that the best things in life are easy. When something is meant to happen, it will.

March 25, 2013

Late Night Alumni, Live from the Great Hall

Finally, here it is. After more than a year since production, all 6 parts of Late Night Alumni: Live from the Great Hall have been released!

This marks Ex Machina Films' first professional credit and we hope it'll be the first of many.

Watch all 6 parts below. Also stay tuned for a big announcement from Ex Machina in the coming weeks.