Friday, December 31, 2010

A Treatment

As a part of my work, sometimes I am asked to find stories.  If you've seen the videos on the Youth Mormon Message page you know that a lot of our videos are created based off real life stories and events.  When the Producer I work under goes to a location like Hawaii or Detroit for a cool story he's found he is often looking for other stories too.  It's more worth our budget if we film more than one story at one location.

When I find other stories, I have to create a treatment for them.  A treatment is a proposal for a story that has not yet been approved.  Once the treatment is approved we do further research and/or script, schedule, and budget the production.

Here is an example of a treatment I created a while ago.  This story was never actually followed through with.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Shoot

This is a great video! Lucas McGraw, the producer I work under, was the mastermind behind this piece.  He came up with the idea, wrote the script, casted, and then edited this project.  I loved helping out on this one.  My responsibilities included working the with the Motion Picture Studio in Provo where we filmed this at, working with casting division to pick our characters, and I had to find a set dresser and a make-up artist for this piece. We shot this in late October of this year.

I'm very impressed with the set.  It looks like we're in a real house, but we're really at a three wall set built in the Church's Movie Studio down in Provo.  The set dresser also did a great job to make this set look like a real living room.

I think this piece is beautiful, and I'm very glad I was fortunate enough to help out on this project!  It was a great piece.

Here are some pictures of what the set originally looked like.  Lucas had them change it a couple of times before he got to the look he wanted.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I love editing. In fact, in high school I did a lot of editing with Adobe Premiere.  Before I took any Multimedia or Digital Media classes in high school I had some experience with editing as well. Before Adobe I used Sony Vegas Pro.  Now at work, I get to use Apple's wonderful Final Cut Pro.  I have to admit, I think I like Adobe best, but Apple's Final Cut is pretty awesome as well.

I would like to consider my self a pretty skilled editor.  I think editing is one of my strong suits.

The producer I work under with the Church, Lucas McGraw, has given me the great opportunity to try my hand at editing my own Mormon Message for Youth.  Before now, I was doing little editing things for the "chief editors," actually I think their official title is "Media Specialist."  I was putting in subtitles, I would edit down interviews by getting rid of the interviewers voice and sorting the answers that the interviewee would give. Now I get to do the major stuff for my own video.  

I'm excited for this opportunity!  I hope I do a good job, and I'll post the video on this blog once it comes out! 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Casting Session

Today I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in a casting session for some online episodes the Church is producing.  I was assisting the producer, the casting specialist, and the women who is in charge of the website the video series will be posted to.

Staring next spring the Church is going to be launching a new website for Young Single Adults.  They are creating a video web series for this website.  Today we were casting the host for that video series.

I learned a lot about casting.  It's long, but at the same time it's fun and worth it.  There are a variety of people who showed up today.  People who were nervous, people who were too energetic, people who were over confident, people with a lot of acting experience, and some with no experience at all.

Things I've learned include:

Stage actors tend to be really big; lots of motion, bigger facial expressions.  For film, that isn't always really good.  Stage actors have to convey the emotion to a live audience; they have to make sure the guys way in the back of the theater get the same experience as the guys in the front seats.  Film actor aren't so big because they aren't acting in front of a live audience, they are acting in front of a camera and talking into a microphone that's straight above their head.  You don't yell to a friend standing next to you in real life, you don't use a lot of body language when talking to someone right next to you - film actors get that.  Stage actors seem to be more dramatic, and film actors seem to be more realistic.  Both acting styles are good and have their place.

Also, the term "slate" can be used as a verb.  I've previously known slate to mean the clapper board AKA marker board. However, in auditions actors "slate" to the camera.  Which means they introduce themselves.  They state their name, their talent agency, their age, and other important information.

I was grateful for this experience today and I hope to continue to learn new things everyday!  I love my job and I am excited for all the new learning opportunities!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Another reason I am very lucky to work at in the Audiovisual Department of the church is because I've been able to get a lot of experience.  Because a lot of our productions are pretty small, I'm able to get to do a variety of things.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to learn how to work a boom microphone with a stick and a separate recording device.  I learned how to hold the microphone, where to point the microphone, what wind covers to use, how to use the recording device, the proper decibel levels to set, how to set the mic on a stand properly, and more!

Also, a producer named Bruce Newbold used me for craft services on the production of a radio program he was doing.  The program is called "The Light of Men," and includes reenactments and dramatizations of the events in Jesus Christ's life as found in the Gospels.  I learned a lot about how to stay within budget, how to keep the actors happy, what kind of snacks to buy, and more.  To be honest, when lunch rolled around, things got pretty stressful.  The restaurants would often make a wrong meal (either that, or I would take a wrong order) and I would have to go back and reorder or make the correct changes.  However, once I got all the lunches taken care of, things ended up okay.

So far I really love my job!  And, I hope the experiences I'm gaining will help me in the future!  I'm still aiming to be a movie director!  Here are some pictures from the latest production:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Working As A Producer's Assistant

Working in the Audiovisual Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been amazing so far!  I'm very fortunate to be able to work where I work! How many other 18 year-old's can say that they are working in a field that they want to?  Right now I'm specifically working with an awesome producer named Lucas McGraw on Mormon Messages for Youth.

Because these videos are only two to five minutes long, I get to see the whole process.  I get to see pre-production, production, and post production.  

I have learned so much since I've been working with the church.  I've learned some of the lingo people in the industry use.  I've learned more about what a producer does.  I've learned about how we pay people and how to find people with specific talents to do a job (because I have to find people and help prepare their contracts).  I've learned how an idea becomes a script, and how the script turns into a storyboard, and about how all this pre-production stuff gets approved.  I've learned about budgeting, scheduling, and organizing.  I've learned more about editing.  And, I keep learning new skill everyday.  Skill that I continue to use on my job.

I feel very, very fortunate to be able to work where I do.  I am very blessed.  Because I feel so lucky, I'm trying my best to take advantage of what I have.  I try to retain what I learn.  I try to learn quickly.  And, I try to be as productive as possible on the job.  I want people to remember me.  I hope that after I leave on my mission people think of me as the, "guy who got stuff done and got it done fast."  

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Kind Of Director I Want To Be

This story looks really compelling, it looks inspiring, it looks intense (see posted video below).  I'm personally not going to go see it because it's rated R.  But, the release of this movie has caused me to seriously reflect on the Film Industry, and what kind of director I want to be someday.

Danny Boyle, the director of this movie is very talented.  He knows how to tell very compelling stories.  I've never seen any of his movies (because most of them are inappropriate) but I'm told that he's amazing.  His movie, "Slumdog Millionaire," won more Academy Awards than any other movie the year it was released.  

This new movie of his, "127 hours," looks just as promising.  It was filmed mostly here in Utah.  I have some neighbors who are actors; in their family is a little boy named Koleman.  Koleman had the great opportunity to play a small role in this movie.  When they told me that Koleman was going to be in this film, I thought to myself, "wow, this is the biggest thing any of them have ever done."  I was a little skeptical though  because I knew that a lot of Danny Boyle's films were rated R.  In this trailer, Koleman is the little boy that wears the glasses and gasps at the breathtaking views of southern Utah.  

Actors, especially ones with small roles, hardly ever get to see the entire script, especially when they are first auditioning for the part.  That's the way the Film Industry works.  I would have it the same way, I don't want someone spilling the secret twist in my up coming film.  However, when Koleman's mom tried to inquiry more about this movie that her son was auditioning for, they assured her that the movie was completely family friendly, that it was an inspiring story, based on a real life event.  They assured her that there was nothing to worry about, that it would be a movie her whole family could go see when it came out.  She asked for a copy of the script, she didn't receive it (no surprise), but she went ahead and let Koleman participate.

They were right, the movie is inspiring, the movie is based on a true story; however, they bluntly lied in pretending it was a family friendly film.  I recently talked with another actor in the movie, who had a chance to see a test preview of the film.  He told me that there were members of the audience who fainted because it was so graphic!  He also told me that it was definitely not family friendly.  He said there was nudity and lots of blood.  Let me pose this question: do you believe a movie that's rated R, with nudity and lots of blood sounds remotely family friendly?

It's terrible that Hollywood has to lie to get what they want!  It's terrible that the Film Industry is so dishonest! This has not changed my mind about taking this career path!  I love film making, and I love telling stories.  But, it has seriously caused me to reflect on what kind of a person I want to be!  I will never ever lie to get what I want!  And, I promise and commit full heartedly that I will be an example!  I will stand up for what's right in an industry so wrong!  I don't care how long I have to wait in between jobs!  I don't care if hardly anybody wants to take me on their projects because I won't work on immoral or graphic material!  I will stand up for what's right!

Friday, October 8, 2010

This Blog

It seems really narcissistic to create a blog about yourself, and to be truthful, it was a little wierd for me to make it.  However, my dream job is to be a movie director!  I want people to see my passion for this art form.  I love the film industry, and while people keep telling me that this is not a career path I should take, the more I see the the more I want to be involved!

Film is a medium that combines so many forms of art together.  All in one bundle you have music, photography, acting, writing, editing, set design, costume design, and so much more!  Film making is also story telling, and man do I love listening someone tell a compelling story, and I love to tell stories myself.  Story telling is a way to communicate an idea.  The greatest teachers in the world use stories to help them illustrate an idea.  I want to tell stories.  I want to make movies.  I want to inspire and uplift people.  I want to pull the audiance into the story.  I want to make the world a beter place.