The In Production Blog

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Stan Richardson and Matt Steiner have a story to tell. Make that several stories to tell. Like most artists who make NYC their home, they are constantly on the lookout for new ways to express their gifts and share it with the audience. What they have created over the last few years is among the most unique theatre and artistic experiences available to anyone hungry for a new story.

 

Meet The Representatives!

 

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In a nutshell, what the Reps do is quite a feat: Stan writes and together he and Matt produce plays that usually tackle a current or timely event in an unexpected way. What sets them apart though is the timeline and location. Since 2012, each of their new work is created, produced and performed within a quick window usually a month or less in a specific location. At first, it was inside an apartment, which gives the audience the unique feeling of an intimate encounter mixed with the theatre.

 

As the productions have gone on, they’ve raised the stakes and scope, branching out to bigger venues such as Churches and warehouses, which still help inform and enlighten both the work and their performance. Their latest project, Beddy Tear is even more unique as it combines live theatre with pre-recorded video segments and sometimes mixes the two to provide an audio-visual experience like no other.

 

 

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Matt was a previous guest on the podcast where he discussed one of the Reps earlier shows:

http://iworkinproduction.com/episode-8-matt-steiner-represents/

 

For more information, check out their website, which is again:

http://therepresentatives.org/

And follow them on instagram:

https://instagram.com/the_representatives/

 

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A shocking ending came about earlier this week as director Randall Miller agreed to a plea deal which sent him to prison and an executive producer to ten years probation in the tragic case involving the death of camera assistant Sarah Jones. Both were charged with involuntary manslaughter after Ms. Jones died while on location shooting the movie, “Midnight Rider”. This admission that there was fault at the highest levels of a production is an almost unprecedented verdict for the film industry.

 

As with many other businesses, this verdict speaks to the “Buck stops here” belief that the people at the top are indeed responsible for the people who work below them. Even if the director himself was not involved in the incident, he and his team should have taken all the needed steps to make sure everything involved in the location and shoot were safe. Working in any sort of active environment involves putting your life in to the hands of those around you and sadly in this case, the people at the top did not hold up their end.

 

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What has been reported is that the production team failed to get the needed permit to shoot on an active train track and instead were attempting to “steal” a few shots. They had been informed that no trains were expected during their time there and should one be on the way, they’d have at least one minute to remove the gear and get to safety. Instead, a train did indeed come as they were on the track and they did not end up having enough time to get to safety. Some of the props involved were destroyed, which sent debris flying at the crew. Several pieces struck Ms. Jones, knocking her in to the path of the train which ended her life.

 

Obtaining a permit is an often tedious and expensive part of film production. To shoot in crowded, active locations requires that the place is secured, that traffic and general populations are diverted and that the crew has total access to get the shots they need to complete their project. These permits can sometimes take weeks or months to secure and in some cases they can initially be agreed upon only to have something fall through after a schedule has been locked in.

 

Time is money, as the saying goes and any sort of delays in production can lead to a film or project going over budget. As such, there is constant pressure to get the shots when they can for as cheaply as possible and this is what often leads to “stealing” shots. Essentially, it means a crew goes in and gets the shots without a permit, sometimes without certain safety guidelines in place for the sake of time and budget costs. It’s a tradition as old as the industry itself, with corners forever being cut to keep everything on schedule.

 

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There is also a sometimes uncomfortable truth that the crew on a set can be the invisible soldiers of a project, the people who show up early, work late and are asked to put in more time and energy than they are capable. Their safety is not always at the forefront of a project, especially one with hundreds of moving pieces. Any large scale production will have a director and a whole team below him or her who does their bidding to make sure the various departments and personnel are ready. The people at the very bottom of this power dynamic are expected to just do their job and not make waves.

 

Granted, this is not the time to ask for a crew to be pampered. Most people are more than happy to just show up and do their job without special treatment. Yet in times like this, it is of the utmost importance to remember that they too need to be taken care of.

 

In this world of high pressure to deliver a project that turns a profit, what cannot ever be taken for granted is the safety of the backbone of the production. People who sometimes put themselves on the front lines of danger to get the shots need to know that their safety is being considered heavily. Whether that means taking more time to make certain every permit is secured or just budgeting more money for the safety and security of the crew, changes need to be made to ensure that everyone involved in these projects are considered.

 

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By all accounts Sarah Jones was a wonderfully talented and dedicated worker and above all else, her death is all that really matters here. Her family have lost someone they love dearly at far too young an age in a freak accident. The parents and family have spoken to how much she loved what she did and that they grieve as much for what she had in front of her as what she had already become. Her death, hopefully can spark an important discussion and perhaps change in the way that many movies do business. As her brother noted he hopes her death is not in vain. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family.

 

Photo Credits:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/midnight-rider-first-ad-set-780201

http://deadline.com/2014/10/midnight-rider-death-timeline-sarah-jones-train-accident-investigation-1201266684/

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/midnight-rider-hairstylist-describes-horrific-moments-train-hit/story?id=26523394

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/director-allman-film-pleads-guilty-train-crash-death-29500934

I recently went to see an excellent, overlooked movie, “A Most Violent Year” with a friend. As we sat through the credits, I mused that they had somehow found pockets of NYC that still resemble 1981 New York in all its decay to re-create their story. We tried to think of where exactly they must have shot to get that footage but as the credits ended, something popped up that answered our question: Parts were shot in Detroit, not New York. A city that is still trying to rebuild itself after much economic hardship has ended up standing in for many others whenever it cannot be found close by.

 

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In our latest installment of the What Is A….? Series, we delve in to the people whose job it falls on to find these places to shoot, the Location Scout.

 

As a script is finalized and the production team is put in to place, the director begins to plan out their shoot. As part of the pre-production, in addition to all of the casting, what becomes most important is locking down where everything will end up being shot. Many films may opt for a soundstage as it gives a controlled environment and can be modified with lights, audio mics and camera equipment for various different looks. However, soundstages can oftentimes be extremely expensive to rent, sometimes thousands of dollars a day. Likewise, there is something that cannot be faked when it comes to the realism of shooting on a location.

 

That is where the Location Scout comes in to play. It is their job as part of the Location Department to find the best locations to fulfill the writer and especially director’s vision for the shoot. All sorts of factors now come in to play, including the availability and cost of the location, the types of outside obstacles and forces that can impact the location such as weather, and how accessible the location will be to the cast and crew.

 

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The Location Scout is the first person to see a potential set, so they must take a lot of pictures. Ideally, you want to give as close to a 360 degree representation of the space so that everything can then be planned accordingly. Everything in the area, from how far away other residences are to what time local trains or planes may run must be taken n to account.

 

Once the Scout has found what they feel is the best place to shoot, they report back to their Department head, oftentimes the Location Manager. The Manager is the direct contact with the overall Pre-Production team. They are the people who help to get permits, to establish the needed links among the production teams needs and what the Scout has found. Most Managers have been Scouts themselves before transitioning to this position of greater authority and management. This way they know what an efficient Scout should be looking for and trouble-shooting any potentially overlooked issues.

 

A good Scout will have a long index and catalogue of places they’ve already seen and cleared with their team so that they can be easily accessed when they are needed. More than anything else though, a good Scout will have done their homework on a specific site. They will know who to contact to get the rights to use a location, be it a private house, public school or historical building. The Scout’s job is to reassure whomever owns the location that their property will be treated respectfully and taken complete care of. The last thing any production needs is a delay because someone has not taken the right steps in covering all the bases and smoothing over every concerned party.

 

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It is usually the job of the Manager to secure the permits and be the go-between for the crew but a Scout who has done their research will make the Manager’s job much easier. Likewise, the Scout should make note of the surrounding area, should any last minute things be needed, from food to equipment to the random items that.

 

Once the set has been locked in and shooting has begun, the Location Manager will end up being the first person on set each day to make sure things are set up properly and that everything goes as smoothly as possible. Likewise, they will often be the last to leave as they secure the location for the following days shooting. At this point, the Scout can move on to other projects or find sets for later on in the production. It’s an ever-changing, ever-moving process.

 

Sometimes, finding a great location can prove difficult or take a longer time than is planned but when it clicks and it really helps the making of the movie or show, the location team can feel the gratitude and pride of everyone else involved.

 

 

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Photo Credits:

 

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-08-02/entertainment/ct-ent-0803-focus-location-scouts-20110802_1_scouts-traffic-circle-west-chicago

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2220603/Detroit-ranked-dangerous-city-country-fourth-year-row.html

http://blog.setscouter.com/location-scouting-checklist-working-with-location-owners/

http://www.cvisual.com/film-techniques/film-location-scouting-template.asp

http://www.thelocationguide.com/blog/2013/08/ng-interview-filming-in-the-canary-islands-with-location-scout-yanira-de-armas-tosco/

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Jamie Leelo and Mehdi Barakchian have a wild notion: that late night talk shows need more bubbles. Not just that but they could use a little more color, more smiles and maybe, just maybe some more girl power. That in a nutshell is Brunch Night with Jamie Leelo. Taking the daytime talk show fun and putting in the late night glamour. They’ve booked a lot of big powerhouse guests already and begun to get great word of mouth from magazines, critics and comedy lovers alike.

 

Jamie founded the show on her own, looking for any way to begin to make her impact on the comedy scene in NYC. From the get-go she was extremely ambitious and while it was quite possibly a bigger undertaking than she could even fathom at the time, she found a way to thrive. She always had the balls as she also began performing stand-up comedy professionally but realized after a particularly difficult show, she couldn’t do it alone.

 

Mehdi meanwhile was going through a comedy odyssey of his own. An a comedy addict, he began to explore the improv comedy scene and went from simply taking classes at UCB to now being employed by them! Before too long he found his paths crossing with Jamie and it was a match made over shots at the PIT comedy bar.

 

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Along the way both found that their great strengths complimented the other in unexpected ways and before too long, romance began to blossom. They are clear-eyed about how tough it can be to mix work and relationships but if you witness the two of them working together, you get a feeling they just might find a way to make it all stick.

 

I can attest to this, as I’ve had the great pleasure of working with both of them as they take their show to new heights, namely, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Unlike anything ever attempted before, this upcoming show will mix comedy, talk show, variety show and a grand sense of whimsy to give the audience a truly unique and undeniably New York experience.

 

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Guests have been booked (Any fans of the TV show Gotham?), bits are being finalized, segments edited down and believe it or not, a few tickets are still available!

 

For those interested parties, it’s a simple click away:

 

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1128799

 

 

With Jamie and Mehdi’s creative forces in full flight, this will be a show not to miss!

 

For more info on Brunch Night, Jamie or Mehdi, check out their website, which contains all the new information and updates on future guests and shows:

 

http://brunchnight.tumblr.com/

 

http://www.jamieleelo.com/

 

http://www.mehdibarakchian.com/

 

 

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Episode 11 finds our first repeat guest, this time with his own episode! It’s Bobby Sansivero, DP, shooter and now first time feature director. He previously appeared on episode 5 with the entire LOSERS creative team where he worked as the DP and primary camera operator for that production. He used several of his comrades from that team to help him on his own new project.

 

Bobby has been working hard on his feature film debut, a loving homage/spoof of hunting for Bigfoot called “Wild Men”. Principal photography wrapped the end of last year and with some help from the State of NY’s film grant, his visions are swiftly becoming a reality.

 

 

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Bobby started his career on the audio side of things before becoming more and more enamored with video production. Before too long he had his own gear and was in demand all over the tri-state area for his skills as at Director of Production and primary shooter.

 

He’s worked on everything from shorts and web series, to commercial shoots and everything in between. His work ethic and attention to detail, especially coming from a sound background make him a vital part of any production.

 

Recently hired by a company in NYC to do product testing and short video production, he looks to have a firm foothold in this industry and with the completion of his first feature, the sky remains the limit for him and his work.

 

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For more info on Bobby, Wild Men and other production’s he’s involved in, check out the links below:

https://www.facebook.com/wildmenmovie

http://www.goocherfilms.com/

https://www.facebook.com/watchsomeFlicks