Wednesday, September 12, 2007

311 spec commercial

The goal was to be cheap, fast and have high volume. The plan was to make 12 of these, using some of the languages spoken in San Francisco.
The interview was shot on a black curtain using two cameras with matched time code. No cost (except two crew). The b-roll was a phone book in the office. Again, no cost. Editing was about 4 hours of crew time. The talent was a guy walking through the lobby of the library. No cost.

I really liked the end result. I thought they could be banged out, then expanded with more languages over time.

The client didn't like the idea of "average" people. We re-shot the same concept, but using 311 operators instead. That didn't have much punch to it. The client decided that a time-lapse project would be a more sweeping presentation. We spent many hours shooting time-lapse stills. And then the client's money ran out.

This cheap & fast YouTube clip is all that remains.

Monday, September 03, 2007

SFPL "Main Stage"

This is a fun and relatively easy production. Well... at least now it is.

Covering San Francisco Public Library events isn't really in the mission of SFGTV. We wanted to do the program, but had to find a production model that would justify it.

First I wrote the complete proposal of how the project would operate. This isn't as hard as writing a grant application. You just need a two-page brief of your project-
The Library books the guests and the guests drive the content (so pre-production is minimal).
The Koret Auditorium stage is pre-existing (no set construction, no lighting/dressing/teardown hours).

The key to Main Stage was keeping labor costs down. I wrote the first-ever internship ads for SFGTV and advertised online. Sean Mitchell, the new Media Internship coordinator at SF State, was a huge help.

The admin of a start-up show AND a start-up intern program was a little high. Interviewing candidates and establishing library contacts took time. Equipment training took time. Using an intern to create the graphics package was a chokepoint in the process.

After the summer interns came through: Main Stage is complete, on the air and everybody's happy. It now has institutional support, established work patterns and a new piece of technology has come along- the Anycast system from Sony. (More on that later...)

I like the show. It could be better (install lighting, audio feed upgrades, more crew, rehearsals) but for the cost of production I think its great. This is the kind of content that niche narrow-casters, i.e. PEG channels and podcasters, are going to be relying on.