I got a message from Noa Yachot bright and early on Friday June 21st that she may have a job for me.
It was an unexpected surprise as Noa is an old friend who isn’t directly in the industry. We first met in the summer of 1999, which was a transformative few months for me. Thanks to the now defunct non-profit, Landmark Volunteers, we spent two weeks in Western Massachusetts doing environmental cleanup. I knew from our initial conversations that she would make a difference and have a positive impact on the world.
Noa recently became the Communications Strategist for the ACLU in New York City and I’m proud to see her on that path.
When our two weeks of community service ended, she saw me taking steps towards fulfilling my own dreams in Hollywood. I headed to UCLA’s picturesque campus to attend a four-week filmmaking program with the New York Film Academy. It was an amazing endeavor where I shot, directed, and edited black & white 16mm reversal film. Learning film editing on a Steenbeck flatbed was an unparalleled experience and something that few students still experience. Sadly, the Northwestern film curriculum didn’t include physically touching celluloid in that manner as the school had already transitioned to non linear editing with AVID and Final Cut Pro stations by the time I enrolled in 2000.
I was not a part of the post production of this video, but I’m thrilled with the end result! We filmed on June 26th, which was a big day for civil liberties. The Supreme Court struck down DOMA that morning so it seemed appropriate to voice our concerns about the government continuing to interfere with people’s freedom in the afternoon.
I brought an ARRI light kit, some C-Stands, solid flags, and my Canon 5D cinema package to Oliver Stone’s production office in West LA. I placed a 300W Fresnel behind his Moviola for some separation and life in the background, placed a 650W kicker on the left edge of frame, and keyed him with a 1K open face/Chimera soft box (skinned with 1/2 grid cloth).
Oliver requested a teleprompter so we enlisted the services of Kris Pyland at LA Teleprompter. Kris did a great job and was invaluable as a stand-in! The rig that he brought was super lightweight and set up very quickly. We captured two takes on the long end of the 24-70mm/2.8L and then got two more on the long end of the 70-200mm/2.8L is. It was an honor to work with Oliver Stone and I hope you enjoy the piece.
Please check out Noa’s blog entry about the shoot as well.