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July 30, 2011 / AM Collins


Last year I directed a 30-minute live to tape show, NEN Kiosk, in partnership with my instructor Marc Smolowitz and Daniel Homsey from the Neighborhood Empowerment Network.  It was really my first time dealing with a live studio environment and working with a client to create a specific product.  It was a great learning experience for myself, and was really the first class project to really challenge me.  That quarter, we produced and directed two episodes for NENtv.  The first was on community gardens, and was directed by Eric Stracke.  The second, which I directed, was about community art and its positive influence on SF.  The show was hosted by Daniel, and the guests were Susan Cervantes of Precita Eyes, Kate Connell of the Book and Wheel Works, and Robynn Takayama of the San Francisco Arts Commission.  The result was a great conversation between creative minds.  We had short B-roll segments with local bay area artists, and got to see first hand the creation of great murals by local talented artists like Mike Kershner.

It was great being able to direct such a great project, shot in the studio at the Art Institute of California – San Francisco.  We got our production up and running in about 4 weeks, most of the crew was learning the positions they were in during that time, and still had a fantastic turn out.  It was great working with Daniel, NEN, and my fantastic instructor Marc Smolowitz.  My producer, Jessica Salgado, was able to outfit the set with IKEA products, all of which was purchased for under $150.  The large brick background was provided by the studio, and the silhouetted/green city background was hand painted by our production team (Joe Sams and Carlos Rodriguez).  The paintings on the brick we took from another section of the building, and it improved the production quality more than I could have hoped for.

This three-camera setup was very different from the style of shooting that I have grown accustomed to.  I regularly practice using multiple camera setups while shooting narrative pieces and documentaries, but mastering the on the fly cutting between camera’s was quite the exciting challenge.  Had it not been for this project, I probably wouldn’t be as organized as I am now.  It really taught me the importance of utilizing your pre-production time and making the most with the time you have.  Dealing with the talent and prepping them for the 30-minute show, plus adjusting them to being on camera was a daunting task in itself.  I made a lot of mistakes during this production, but learned some valuable lessons along the way.  Although I have no desire to pursuea live to tape show format in my future, I am glad I got to experience it.  Please, check out NEN Kiosk Episode 2 on NENtv.


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