"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Monday, January 12, 2009

"Lights, Camera, Action": Finding the Right Film Company

Thanks to Stephen and Teresa Gashler, owners of Gashler Media, in granting permission to post their picture and logo.

I searched online for the right company to film "Family Famine: Hunger for Love" and eventually I came upon Gashler Media.

Google was my search engine of choice and I used phrases such as "Utah videography" or "Utah filming company" and other similar words.

The listings usually changed my original search to "Utah wedding videography".

I laughed at the results, as what was I to expect from a state that had the most weddings anywhere in the nation. . .perhaps even in the world? Add to this that my premiere would be in Provo, the capital of marriages due to the closeness of Brigham Young University. There were many choices of filming companies.

Then, one by one, I googled specific companies that came from the online search. If I did not like their website (or if no website could be found), then I crossed them off my list.

I was suprised how many of the filming companies had a simple directory listing on wedding sites but nothing else to explain their services.

Finally, I found Gashler Media.

I liked the website, especially as there were samples of their work. I was intrigued when their site stated that "We will only produce family-friendly content (G or PG-rated) and nothing of a sensual, pornographic, violent, hateful, rude, irreverant, profane, obscene, deceitful or manipulative nature."

That made me wonder the rating for my premiere. Was it PG? I did place the minimum audience age to eight, though the stories were geared for twelve-year-olds and older. What did that mean?

It was helpful that Stephen and Teresa, the owners of Gashler Media, had pricing.

I noticed that for three cameras--as I wanted different angles--it would be $1000.

That would fit within my budget.

I called Stephen and scheduled a time today to meet the two of them to see if we might work together.

They requested that I bring a list of desired shots for the premiere.

Here are the Desired Shots--

"Before I Come on Stage" Shots
  • Some set-up, putting up the booth in the hallway, or other ambiance footage like the empty theatre, wooden paneling, stage, etc.
  • People taking their seats and chatting with each other
  • Close up of Elizabeth Ellis, emcee
  • Shots of my husband, Mom, Dad, and brother in the front row as Elizabeth acknowledges their presence
  • My sister could not make it from Wisconsin so directing the auidence to look at one of the cameras and say, "We love you, Care!"
  • Shots of some storytellers wearing blue ribbons
  • Close up of Elizabeth Ellis and then pan out to see the whole stage when I come out
"The Changeling"--First Story Shots
  • Audience reactions mixed with panned out and close-ups to include full-body shots and some close-ups of the face
  • Close-ups of the three neighbors/characters--Mrs. O'Malley, Mrs. Flanagan, and Mrs. Lynch
"Forsaken Brother"--Second Story Shots
  • Begin with close-ups of the upright bass and the guitar, as there will be a bit of "soundscapes" before I begin
  • Audience reactions mixed with panned out and close-ups to include full-body shots and some close-ups of the face
  • Mix of solo storytelling shots (me), duo shots (Geoff Rayback on bass and Joshua Payne on guitar), and trio shots (all three of us)
  • Reference to eyes--how father's eyes are like the boy's eyes--so shots can reflect this reference
  • In editing--quick shots between me and the instruments during climax (when brother spots boy on shore and tries to reach him before the boy transforms into a wolf)
Transition between Second and Third Stories
  • Close-up of me to close-up of brother as I surprise him by having the audience sing "Happy Birthday" a day early
"The Gardener's Wife"--Third Story Shots
  • Audience reactions mixed with panned out and close-ups to include full body shots and some close-ups of the face
  • Mix of solo storytelling shots (me) and solo singing shots (when I sing alone and when Holly Robison sings alone), and duo shots when Holly and I harmonize
  • Shots of audience when I welcome them to sing the lullaby, especially the first time
  • Close-ups and full-body shots during singing of lullaby and of the grieving/pleading song
Recognition after the Program on Stage Shots
  • When all performing artists and the emcee come on stage to applause
Celebration/Mingling Shots
  • General buzz shots as people get up from their seats
  • People eating cookies and treats
  • With the buzz and talk, to have family reactions, Elizabeth Ellis and any volunteers who want to share what they thought (interview style)
What would also be Nice
  • If I transcribe the performance, could closed captioning be chosen to be on or off?
  • Audio commentary after it is done? To include story buddies and guest artists?
  • Add American Sign Language interpreter on the corner while actual film is running of the live show?
I knew I had found the right company in Gashler Media when Stephen and Teresa told me that the closed captioning, audio commentary, and the ASL could be added without changing the $1000 fee.

So now on premiere day could be called out, "Lights, Camera, Action!"

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Former Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance (2005-2008)
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Performance Blog: http://familyfamine.blogspot.com
Other places to find me: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Professional Storyteller


Tim said...

this is an impressive amount of planning. Did you actually storyboard the final movie, or just present this list of shots as a suggestion and leave it to Gashler to do the final edit?

Did you have a concert video from a specific performer in mind that you were working from as a reference, in visualizing the type of camera setup and shots you wanted?

Professional Storyteller Rachel Hedman said...

Dear Tim:

I gave this list of shots and let Gashler Media decide what would work. Since I am an artist, I respect other artists and their choices.

However, Gashler Media did show me the video and asked if there were anything I wanted tweaked. Since there were three cameras, there were many choices for any one moment.

As far as I know, there is not a storytelling DVD that has closed captioning, audio commentary, and American Sign Language translation. I do love the filming of "The Call of Story" that was in partnership of PBS and Brigham Young University.

So instead of from storytelling DVDs, ideas for shots came from regular DVDs I see for movies. If actors can have special features on their films, why not storytellers?

As for the American Sign Language, Libby Tipton taught an hour of how storytellers can work better with interpreters during the Advanced Storytelling class at East Tennessee State University. Elizabeth Ellis allowed time in class to address such an important topic.

I wanted an interpreter at the premiere itself so that the storytelling could be more available to the deaf community, but I ran out of time to make it possible.

At least having the ASL translation is my part to open up storytelling to under-served groups.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman