Thursday, December 16, 2010

"The Weight" by The Band - Cover by Green River Ordinance

The latest video that I directed, shot and edited for Green River Ordinance. The second in a series of 5 music videos for their covers EP, due out in March 2011.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shooting a Documentary In Bolivia!

Just to warn you, before we even get started, I’m going to ask you for something in this blog post. I’ve had an idea for a documentary swimming around in my head for a long time, and I want to make it. My cousin Heather, a chiropractor from Wisconsin, decided a few years ago, shortly after graduating from Chiropractic school, to go to Bolivia to be a missionary. The thing is, the interesting thing, is that she went there as a missionary to practice chiropractic on children. I don’t know if you know this, but I come from a long line of chiropractors. My grandfather is a somewhat name-worthy chiropractor from way back; my mom and dad are both D.C.’s (that’s an abbreviation for chiropractor, fyi), two of my aunts, three of my uncles, my cousin and my brother-in-law – all chiropractors. My entire life I’ve been immersed in holistic medicine and the art of chiropractic. Whether you believe in it or not, or whether you’ve ever gotten a chiropractic adjustment, I think we can both agree, physical therapy is good for people. And that’s what my cousin does in Bolivia now, full-time, for free. And the most incredible, interesting and unique thing about her practice, is that her patients mostly consist of orphans and street-kids - all children who don’t get a lot of tender-loving-care in their day to day lives. Warms your heart doesn’t it!?

Heather also wanted me to mention that along with chiropractic, she teaches the Bible, acts as a mentor, teaches nutrition and does counseling. Also, she's been "working once a week at a clinic for the poorest of the poor and the majority of the patients are adults."

And so for the last few years I’ve been thinking through her decision to leave her country and spend her time doing chiropractic on kids, with no material pay-off. I think it’s tempting to think that she’s getting a life-long vacation. She doesn’t have the stress and worry that come with maintaining an American lifestyle, she’s supported by donations, she gets to eat Bolivian food and probably drinks those big, glass-bottle Cokes made with real Cane-sugar. Or does she? I don’t know actually. And that’s why I’m going to make a short documentary film about her in January 2011. I imagine it takes a great sacrifice to leave your family (and trust me, she’s got a great family) and dedicate your life to something that will not pay off in any material way. And I think this film will be important. I believe that God gives every single one of us a gift, or a talent, and it’s our job to use them. Mine is hopefully filmmaking, or story telling (but I’ll let you be the judge of that). Heather’s gift is loving on kids and aligning their backs. She shows them that somebody loves them and tells them that Jesus loves them and shows them that God sent her to go and to love them. That’s a lot of love!

This documentary will take a little bit of money to make. I am not being paid to make this film and I am requesting that you, if you have a heart for missions, or, if you believe in chiropractic and want it to be used to heal children in need all over the world, I ask if you would consider donating a little bit of money to make this short film happen. Christian Chiropractors Association, a legit 501(c)(3) non-profit is teaming with me and has agreed to make sure that all donations will be tax deductible. If you would like to make a donation, please send any amount to:

Christian Chiropractors Association
2550 Stover, B-102
Fort Collins, CO 80525
(Just write "Anton Documentary" or "Bolivia Documentary" on your check)

I need about $3,000 by January 5th, to make this movie. Whether you donate $5 or something more, it’s all good, every bit helps! Any extra money that is donated will go straight into Heather’s Bolivia account and will help her continue her work there.

More than anything, I’ll need your prayers for this trip. I’m traveling with a bunch of my film gear and that’s stressful when I’m flying to Pittsburgh, let alone South America. Pray that my very expensive luggage with make all of it’s connections. I put a lot of pressure on myself when I try to tell a story and there’s always the worry that I’ll just straight up fail. So you can help me out greatly by simply praying that I will not fail completely in my effort to make a compelling documentary. The dates of my travel are January 6th 2011 – January 21st 2011.

I hope to travel around with Heather as she sees patients and to film cinematic shots of her giving adjustments to children. I will conduct interviews in Spanish and English with people who know her and will collect stories about how chiropractic has made a positive impact in these children’s lives. I will also document how Heather lives day to day and how she’s adjusted to life in Bolivia. This will hopefully be humorous and will highlight the fact that people get by in a more simple way than most Americans are used to, and will show some of the idiosyncrasies of the Bolivian culture in Santa Cruz. Although Heather's work encompasses more than just adjusting children, the documentary will focus specifically on orphanages and how Chiropractic benefits the children there.

I can’t thank you enough for reading all of this and for thinking about helping me in making this film. I love you. PLEASE, email me if you have any questions.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

GRO Performing "Baby" by Justin Bieber

Watch it in HD! It looks and sounds better!

I recently directed a series of 5 new music videos for Green River Ordinance, all famous cover songs, for a new EP. The band was a pleasure to work with as always, just very gracious people and passionate musicians. The recording of "Baby" was sort of thrown in last minute and the band learned the song on the spot and put their own groove behind the lyrics. I'll post the rest of the videos as their edited, about one every two weeks.

We didn't have a huge budget, so we were forced to get creative. For lighting, aside from some borrowed Kino Flo's, we bought 9 cheap lights from a local "big box retailer":
Our lighting setup was very simple, with the idea basically being, the more lights that we can shine into the lens, the dirtier the image, the better. We achieved this by removing all of the lamp-shades:
The bulbs in the center, stand-up lamps (which were only $9.99) were soft, daylight balanced CFLs, the 5 yellow bulbs in the octopus lamp in the back were 50w, party bulbs and the back-lighting in the booth and behind Jamie were (A25) 40w bulbs, all purchased from Home Depot for a grand total of $35.

We shot on a Canon T2i with 2 L-series lenses, a 16-35mm f/2.8 and an 85mm f/1.2, and a naked Panasonic HVX-200 video camera:
After the shoot, all lighting was returned safely to it's home. It now lives happily with poor college students:
For a way more in-depth and beautiful look behind the scenes, check out photographer Sara Kerens' blog, here(1), here(2) and here(3).

Sara Kerens, getting the band to strike a pose:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tokyo Travel Video

I'm not getting back into this full-time just yet, but in the midst of many other video editing projects, I decided to finish out this travel video that I shot in Tokyo two years ago. It's actually the very last video in my "Around The World In 30 Days" series, although I'm skipping about 7 videos by posting this one.

My camera battery died at the end of filming this video, just as I was delivering my grand speech, wrapping up my entire experience, backpacking around the globe. Alas, the is it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Change Is In The Fall Air

The slow decent into Fall each year is something that has always fascinated me. I spent my formative years in North Texas, where Fall is something a little more subtle than other Mid-West parts of the country, but it tends to be the one time of year when the weather outside is quite temperate until one day, the cold gray clouds roll in and settle for the rest of Winter.

I could go on about the weather forever, but I'll just stop right here and save you some unnecessary reading (I just wrote another paragraph here and then deleted it, don't worry, you won't miss it).

For the last 3 years I've been nearly transient. I'll take you through a quick walk of my "adult" life thus far:

2001 - December 2004 : The College Years, marked by a summer spent interning in L.A., a summer study-abroad to London and backpacking trip, and a summer study-abroad in Spain and a more extensive backpacking trip.

2005 - 2006 : Assistant Editing in Dallas, my first and last real job.

2007 - 2010 : Freelance Video Shooter, Cinematographer, Director, Editor, Production Company Owner, and full-time Traveler.

I'm now 27 and the time is coming for me to set down some roots. While yes, my family lives in DFW and that will always be "home" for me, it's just not where I want to live. My plan for the last few months has been to get my resources together and move to Austin in early 2011 to establish my production company. After three years spent traveling the world, I've realized something very important: There is no Shangri-La. And this is coming from a person who's traveled to the Kingdom of Bhutan, a place that is actually called the last Shangri-La.

I became somewhat obsessed with proper urban development in college, after living in London and taking high-speed trains across Europe while backpacking. I came back home to Dallas-Fort Worth and became rather displeased with the city infrastructure (or complete lack of one). So for the last few years, as I've meandered my way around the globe a few times, visiting somewhere around 45 countries and 6 continents in the process, I've been on the lookout for the perfect place to live and work. I really loved Sydney, Australia, but then I heard about their "cut the tall poppies" mentality and that somewhat shattered my idea of Utopia once again. I'd love to live in London, but it's cold and dark half the year. I'd love to live in L.A. but it's smoggy and overcrowded and congested. I'd love to live in New York City, but it's expensive and compacted. You see my point.

Austin offers decent weather, a decent city infrastructure, a plethora of small businesses, a creative environment and some natural beauty. It's a pretty good in-between city for this point in my life. S0 I think I'm going to give it a shot. In the future, I'd like to live in London, Paris and New York City for a while as well as spend some extended time in Australia and New Zealand. This world is far too amazing, too diverse and too beautiful for me to stay put too long.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Resurecting My Writing

Over a year ago, I traveled to New Zealand and shot a film. It's been a long road, with a few patches of nothing getting done, and the film is finally, almost ready to be shown. I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't start any more major projects until the film was completed. I'm not one to focus all of my attention on a single project and as a result, it's hard for me to finish anything.

But the film is almost done.

I've been writing on this blog for five years. The last year has been the slowest year for writing out of all of them. I've been reluctant to post anything because I've felt guilty to not be working on my film, I've worried that the people I make videos for would read my writing and think me crazy or immature, and I think I've just been burnt out in general.

I'm feeling a lot better now and I'm itching to get my writing back into shape. So I'm going to start writing here again, lot's and lot's of text, fewer pictures and video, more stories.

Thanks for sticking with me.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Video Shoot For Green River Ordinance

This week I'm in Dallas directing a couple videos for the band Green River Ordinance, who are recording an EP of cover songs (really great songs). We're going with a natural lighting setup with lots of dirty frames and lens flares. I'm having a ball. The talented photographer Sara Kerens came to set today and took some pictures and has already posted them on her blog. Click this link or click on the picture below to go to her blog and see them nice and BIG.Photo by Sara Kerens

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summer 2010 Will Be Remembered Fondly

These pictures only graze the surface.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Going To Disney World With Your Baby

Earlier this summer, a U.K. based production company called Malt Films, hired me to shoot and direct some web-spots for about traveling from the U.K. to Disney World with your baby, and what to expect when you get to the park. Robert Hindle, directed this viral video (based on the "Look Who's Talking" baby inner-monologue concept). It's adorable and funny as well. And I shot the dream sequence at Disney World which begins at 2:03:

I also shot and directed these other informative spots while in the Disney World parks:

These two videos were shot at Orlando Airport (everything on the airplane was shot by Robert Hindle in London):

I'm really grateful that Malt Films trusted me to shoot these spots on my own in the U.S. - It was a fun experience (even if it was one of the hardest shoots of my life). The shot list and the structure of the videos was planned out by Robert Hindle, who is a mad genius and the creator of the creator of The Lone Filmmaker vlog series on Youtube. I highly recommend you watch his entire series from start to finish. It's the story of his struggle to make a feature film completely on his own, while being documented by his girlfriend Gabby. The series really becomes fascinating when their relationship starts to break down. And the series continues!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

L.A. For The Weekend

Freelance work has taken me to the San Francisco Bay Area for the last month. It's been great work and well-paid. However, it's been solitary. I've been stationed mostly in suburbs, so I haven't even been able to really spend time with the few people I know in the region. I was given the option to stay in hotels over the weekends, but instead, I opted to drive six hours back to Los Angeles each Friday night, to hang out with my best friend Ben and our L.A. family over the weekend. After church today, I'll be packing my things once again and driving my rental car 8 hours North to Reno, Nevada for my last shoot-day on Monday. From there I'll fly back to DFW for a few days to spend some quality time with loved ones and then I'll be flying back to L.A. for another 3 week gig.

The lifestyle of a freelance video maker (camera operator, director, editor) is a tough one. Nobody tells a young hopeful filmmaker how hard it will be to maintain close relationships should they actually achieve their dreams. One of my goals is to lovingly pass this knowledge along to the new guard.

All that is to say that all of this work is a huge blessing. And I miss you when I'm on the road.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Haven't Forgotten About You

I've been working for the last few weeks. Every day. Every dang day.

This is a good thing. This means money, and fulfillment (although not in that order). It also means fun, because I like what I do (specifically camera work and directing in this case). I have a three day break coming up, for which I'll fly back to DFW and RELAX. Then I'll fly BACK to L.A. to rush into another job, this time working as a camera operator on a cooking show (10 shoot days over a 14 day period).

Possible Travel Plans:
I'm kicking around the idea of going to Iceland for a week, the first week of October. It's the low season (tourism-wise) and the airfare is very cheap.

Drop me a line. How are you doing?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Knight To D7 - Short Film Trailer

Written by Angelo Restaino, Directed by Nathan Scoggins, Starring BRETT MACK, ANGELO SALVATORE RESTAINO, MEG CIONNI, HECTOR ELIZONDO and JACK√ČE.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Want To Go To Iceland

I love the far North and the far South (speaking in terms of hemispheres) in the summertime. Scotland, Minnesota, and the South Island of New Zealand are some of my favorite places in the world to be in the summer months (Tasmania and Patagonia are on my list next!). The days are long and cool and the tough, dark Winter weeds out the weaklings, leaving strong people with rich character. This year, I can't stop thinking about Iceland. I've already missed my Summer window I'm afraid, but right now, I'm in the middle of a long stretch of freelance work, meaning that I'm going to have a little extra money this Fall. I looked at plane tickets and found that the cheapest airfare to Iceland is from late September to mid-Fall. In July, the days are 22 hours long. In January, the days are only 4 hours long. In October though, the days are 9 hours long, still leaving plenty of time to take in the scenery.

I'm very seriously looking into flying to Iceland for a week, to shoot some video, meet some locals and get to know the culture a little bit. Maybe Iceland's recent ad-campaign is working on me subconsciously?

Check out a few photo sets from street/blogger, fashion/photographer Yvan Rodic: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Let's Get Some Shoes

What do you think? Which are you favorites?

Friday, July 30, 2010

What I Want To Do With My Life

3 Things:

1. Spend as much quality time with my family as possible (mom, dad, brother, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins).
2. Live my dream of making films and writing novels, while traveling around the world.
3. Have a family of my own and spend as much quality time with them as possible.

That's why I do what I do, and I wish everyone could do it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Knight To D7 - Short Film - Behind The Scenes

I shot these videos, behind the scenes on a short film by Greg Wilson and Angelo Restaino, produced by Emily Moss.

Very good experience. I think it's going to be a powerful short film. Find out more on the film's website here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Asked About My Faith And The Film Industry On Formspring

Fellow video blogger, Josh Leo, whom I admire, asked me, "how does your faith inspire the kind of videos you make?"

This is what I answered:

When I first consciously became a Christian at 19, I contemplated dropping my film ambitions and becoming a missionary. Then I saw a TV show called Travel The Road, which was about missionaries and I saw the potential to merge the two. When I graduated from college, I took a job in commercial post production. I spent my vacations going on international mission trips and making short docs about the trips. A production company next door saw a film I shot in Brazil and asked me if I'd like to come shoot a TV show for them in Europe - and that's how I got started as a camera operator. Later on down the road, I was shooting a "bikini travel show" for the same company. Recently, I'd felt morally convicted about some of the content I'd been producing, so I decided to just stop working on certain projects. I lost a lot of money in the process but I gained a lot of free time. Basically, I want to be deliberate in what I produce, not necessarily only making evangelical content, but deliberately making content that expresses my integrity and the things that are important to me - specifically travel, enjoying life, inspiring children, choosing to be happy and preserving and cherishing the natural environment. It's really important that believing people work in the film industry among unbelievers and share the light of Christ by working hard and being nice, trustworthy people.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 - Wide Open - Quick Lens Test

I shot this on July 1st at Pardees Cameras in Sacramento, CA. I was in Northern California shooting commercials for apartment complexes and stopped into the camera store to buy something. They had the full line of Sigma lenses, which are much cheaper than Canon L-series and fit both full-frame Canons such as the 5D, and APS-C cameras such as the 7D and T2i. So I grabbed the 50mm, popped it on my Rebel T2i and opened the iris. I really liked the primes, while I wasn't so keen on the Zoom/Macros.

If you don't care about cameras or lenses, but do care about my face, here's a nice close-up of it.

For a very fast lens under $500, I was very impressed with the depth of field. However, you absolutely cannot shoot handheld while wide-open with this lens. Not only is the DOP too shallow, but the jello-effect of the rolling shutter in really amplified while wide-open.

Here are two still shots of my EF-S 18-135mm (taken by the Sigma 50mm, not of the Sigma...):

Friday, June 18, 2010

Why The Drobo S Is A Good Choice For Video Editors

I'm slowly but surely cleaning up this mess.

This is a quick post about why I bought a Drobo S, to use as my main storage for HD video files. As a video editor, I'm constantly buying new external hard-drives for projects. HD video files take up huge amounts of data. Now that cameras are shooting on solid state memory, rather than on tapes, footage is not archived unless it is backed up on multiple hard-drives. This means that for every project at least two hard-drives much be purchased. The process gets annoying and confusing quickly.

The Drobo S is a box that allows you to insert "internal" harddrives, one on top of the other, and it automatically RAIDs them, or backs them up. You can stack 5 two-terabyte hard-drives at a time inside the Drobo S, giving you 9 actual terabytes of backed-up space. If a drive ever fails (which all drives eventually do), the Drobo will show you a red light, at which point you just buy another drive and pop it in, in place of the failed drive and the Drobo automatically goes to work putting the data back in the right place.

I own a few 2 terabyte external G-Drives - the Apple store lists them at $330. The Drobo S, by itself is $799. I bought two 2TB Hitachi sata hi-speed drives at Fry's for $118 (on sale) a piece. If I fill up all 5 drive slots in the Drobo S, that gives me 9TB of backed up storage space for a total of $1389. If I were to buy 18TB (or 9 2TB G-Drives), which would give me the same amount of backed up storage space, I'd spend $2970. Also, it bogs down my computer to have multiple daisy-chained drives - the Drobo S allows me to keep all 9TBs running simultaneously, and the 7200RPM drives, going through an *eSata card are very fast (the Drobo S also has two firewire 800 ports).

*The newest generation of 15in. Macbook Pros DO NOT have an Expresscard/34 slot for the eSata card. Instead, they have a single SD card reader. This was a HUGE design flaw by Apple. I do not recommend buying a 15in. Macbook Pro that does not have a Expresscard/34 slot. Here is a link to the IOGEAR 2 PORT eSATA EXPRESSCARD/34 - GPS702e3 that I purchased from Fry's for $39.99. The 17in. Macbooks still have this slot, but they are huge and impractical for travel.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Questions I've Been Asked So Far On Formspring

I'm having a ton of fun with this. It feels like therapy.

What made you choose to just start doing random video hoping for work instead of getting a 9-5 production job with a business?

I started editing yearbook-style videos in highschool, wedding-slideshows, softball banquet videos etc. I went to TCU and got a Radio-Television and Film degree. I graduated a semester early and immediately landed a bunch of freelance editing work. I had no idea how to manage my time, my money, or how to be diplomatic in client relations and I felt in-over-my-head. So I got a full-time position at a commercial post-house, first working in "the vault" and eventually working my way up to assistant editor. I desperately wanted to be working on productions though. I went to Guatemala and Brazil and shot mini-documentaries about Christian mission trips and edited them at work. The production company next door saw some of my Brazil footage and asked me to come to Europe to camera operate on their show "Project MyWorld." So I quit my job and shot the show, but when I returned home, I still wasn't ready to go completely freelance, so I started working at another post-house for an even higher assistant editor rate. I was miserable and I was editing videos in a week with the same budget as my salary. I felt incredibly under-valued, so I quit, started my own video production business and never looked back.

Working freelance is hard and takes a special kind of person. If you're that kind of person, it presents an incredible amount of freedom. I hope to never go back to working 9am - 9pm again (even though I still sometimes pull 24hr days working for myself!).

What do you do to stay fit?

I've been working out and running my entire life. I've always been naturally skinny and when I trained for the Stockholm Marathon in 2003, I got all the way down to 144 pounds, which was just too skinny for my 6'1" frame. Two years ago, I started eating a ton of leafy greens, kale salads and quinoa. I did the P90X workout program 6 days a week and drank protein shakes by Cytosport (Cytogainer) after my workouts. In about 2 months, I went from 150 to 170 with a single digit body fat. I've trimmed my workouts back a little now. I still workout 6 days a week. I do one day of legs, two days of chest and back, two days of arms, and one day of mixed cardio and running (alternating abs and core, resting a day in between). I eat complete foods, rounded, small meals, limit my meat intake (especially red meat - I have a hamburger about once a month), organic produce, take in protein after my workouts and load on carbs the night before my workouts. I'm now about 160 pounds and I have about 9-12% body fat. I can run a 5k in about 19 minutes, I can do about 20 wide-grip front pull-ups at a time, and I could run about 15-20 miles on any given day. My job as a documentary camera operator requires strength and endurance and I want to make sure I'm ready in case the CIA ever wants to send me on a secret mission.

What are you the most passionate about?

I am passionate about making things right. People are not good to each other and I refuse to just accept that it is just the state of the world. I'm passionate about proper urban development to the scale of human beings, the conservation of nature, limiting pollution and making people aware that there is a way to not just be a constant consumer - I want to share the love that I feel in Jesus with everyone I come in contact with, even people who oppose me. In short, I'm passionate about practical education. I believe that education is the way to a better life for everyone on the planet. If people understood the greater ramifications of the small things they do, I believe we'd more consciously care for each other.

What the most frightening experience you've ever had while filming abroad?

Off the top of my head, filming in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenya was a freaky experience. It's one of the top 5 most dangerous in the world, because it's run by the Mungiki cult. They're notorious for beheading people. I just felt that something wasn't right and we left, seconds before a Mungiki started approaching our car. Also, I've almost fallen to my death off two different cliffs.

Ask me more questions! Thank you.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ask Me Some Questions Please

I've jumped on a new interwebz bandwagon called formspring. If you've ever had a question for me, this website may be a good format to get it answered. Ask me about running a video business, making independent films, or my faith in Jesus; ask me anything you want. I'll do my best to answer honestly and concisely.

You can find my formspring page here:

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Last Year At This Time

This is so weird. I had decided to write this blog post and was sitting here trying to think of a title and was saying in my head, "well, I'm happy..." - It was almost a year ago exactly that I wrote a post about how depressed I was. Having just returned from New Zealand and Australia, I had this overwhelming feeling that things were going to get very tough and it was going to be exactly a year before I would be able to get back on my feet. And here I am now, exactly one year later, writing to tell you how happy I am!

For most of the last year, I've been living in Dallas-Fort Worth, staying with my family. The year wasn't as travel-free as I thought it would be. Shortly after coming back from Australia, I ended up in Barcelona, visiting my brother, I stopped in New York afterward and spent some time in L.A. (August 2009 and April 2010). But for the most part, my days have been spent in DFW. Things were slow freelance-wise and I ended up taking a position as a P.A. on a television show shooting in Dallas called The Deep End - it was a great learning experience, just observing production on such a major scale, but after 4 weeks of 16 hour days, getting paid about $1,000 a week (roughly $12.50/hr with no overtime) - I quit. It also turned out to be a good decision to work on the show in the long run because FOX took out heavy taxes from my meager wage and it saved me from having to pay a bunch at the end of the year.

Sometime around December 2009, freelance video work started picking up speed. I got busy. Busy-ness has been a blessing, both for the income and also just to give my mind something to focus on other than anxiety. A few days ago, I turned 27, and while I feel older (like a true-blue adult...finally), I'm also in great shape, healthy and happy. What more could you ask for? So I've been saving my money, finishing my movie and investing in my company. There are a lot of projects on the table, video work, a television show, and a movie. Things feel very different than they did last year. I feel good.

Here are some of the "investments" that I feel really good about. Just some little film-gear bits and bobs:

Canon T2i, EF-S 18-105

Miller Compass 15 Solo Alloy Tripod
5600k Flolite LEDs
It's not much, but I've always been hesitant to buy gear. When we have major productions I rent the best of the best, RED ONEs, Kinos etc. - But for day to day use, for those ideas that just pop into my head, this stuff is perfect and allows me to be shooting and creating all the time. I feel inspired and invigorated.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cambodian ATMs give U.S. Currency

This video is from my Around The World In 30 Days Video Blog series:

I went to Cambodia to see the temples of Angkor Wat - those will come in a later video blog. I found the Cambodian people to be very friendly.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"More Than It Is" Film Trailer

More Than It Is - Theatrical Trailer 1 from Anton on Vimeo.

Directed by Anton Seim
Director of Photography - Jonathan Nicholas
Starring Cherie Ditcham and Beth MacDonald
Edited by Keenan Hiett

Camera: Canon 5D Mark II
Lenses used: Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 and Minolta 50mm f/1.4 (with adapter)

For the story of the making of "More Than It Is" click here.

The Making Of "More Than It Is"

*Click here for the trailer*

We had three main film inspirations going into the making of "More Than It Is" - First, Brook Silva-Braga's documentary of his year long backpacking trip around the world, "A Map For Saturday." We actually stole the title of our movie (with permission from Brook, of course) right from one of the lines in his film. Our second inspiration was the Duplass Brothers' classic "mumblecore" film "The Puffy Chair." Shot on hand-held SD video, we figured, if they could get away with it, so could we. And we had the benefit of new camera technology that would allow us to shoot HD and use traditional 35mm lenses, giving us really wide shots when we needed them as well as very shallow depth of field. The third movie that inspired us was Tarsem's "The Fall." Shot on location in twenty-four different countries, what we took from "The Fall" was that beautiful foreign locations add a lot to a movie. So we decided to make our movie in one of the prettiest places on the planet, the South Island of New Zealand.

Charlie and Josh Dance in a Scene From "More Than It Is"

"More Than It Is" is the story of Josh, a young American guy, convinced that his one chance at true love is with an English girl named Leila who he hasn't seen in a year. Through a social networking site, Josh sees that she's now working in New Zealand - so he flies there to surprise her and tell her his true feelings...only to be turned down on the spot. Realizing the bizarre thing that he's just done, Josh sinks into a lonely depression. While waiting to fly back to the States, Josh meets Charlie, a beautiful, free-spirited backpacker who is traveling around the world. She invites Josh on a road-trip across the South Island and soon he's put his love-sickness behind him, as he takes on the role of a vagabond backpacker. But the fun can't last forever and soon real life sets in, the euphoria wears off and everything gets muddled once again.

The Filmmakers:

"More Than It Is" was written and directed by Anton Seim, who also plays the lead roll of Josh. The impetus for the story, may or may not have been inspired by actual events in Anton's life. Jonathan Nicholas was the very talented Director of Photography. The budget of the movie essentially got split between the two filmmakers, with Jonathan purchasing all of the camera gear (Canon 5D Mark II, L-Series lenses), as well as his own plane ticket to New Zealand. The other lead role of Charlie, was played by Cherie Ditcham. Jonathan was the entire film crew - camera, audio and lighting. The actors wore Lectro wireless microphones at all times and audio was recorded remotely by Jonathan using an MAudio digital recorder (all audio gear was graciously provided by Nick Ballard of Ballard Productions).

The crew, Jonathan (with all his film gear), Cherie and Anton - Arriving In Christchurch

Jonathan carried all of his film gear with him at all times
(about 40 pounds, including 7 lenses...overkill?)

Jonathan with his Canon 5D Mark II (the camera he used to shoot the movie)
He shot the majority of the film handheld.

After about 20 hours of flying, from L.A. to New Zealand,
we immediately shot the last scene of the movie at the airport
- a scene Anton finished writing while on the plane.

There are two female leads in the film, Charlie (played by Cherie Ditcham) and Leila. We flew from L.A. with Cherie, but we found the Leila character in New Zealand by posting an ad on a Kiwi Job-Listing message board. When Beth MacDonald, who plays Leila, wrote us back, we simply couldn't believe that she would actually be there when we landed. Beth agreed to meet us for a drink the night before our shoot the next morning and Anton set out to convince her that we were actually filmmakers. She was a delightful, beautiful, knew her lines, and was excited to be a part of the film!

Anton meets Beth MacDonald in person for the first time,
the night before her first day of filming.

There were other characters in the script, meant to be played by real backpackers, so they were pretty much impossible to cast without meeting them in person. A Brazilian named Felipe Carpinelli Sabbag was one of the first backpackers to respond to the initial casting ad and was immediately texting Anton from the time the crew arrived in New Zealand. He turned out to be a great addition to the cast.

Felipe Carpinelli Sabbag (Brazil)
(Anton needs that footage for a BTS doc!)

There was a funny part in the script about an English guy who brushed his teeth naked. We mentioned the part to a backpacker we met named Pete Johnson and he immediately said he was game. Pete became one of our favorite characters in the film.

Pete Johnson (U.K.)

The Camera Department - Shooting On The Canon 5D Mark II

The Canon 5D Mark II is a digital SLR camera that shoots 8bit 4:0:2 HD video onto Compact Flash cards at full-raster 1920x1080. Because it's a full-sensor SLR, it uses 35mm lenses and has a depth of field equivalent to traditional film cameras. Using this camera gave us the look that big-budget movies have, but allowed us to shoot on the sly, sometimes filming in busy restaurants without anyone knowing that we were making a movie - it just looked like we were taking pictures across the table! However, when we left to begin filming in New Zealand, Canon had yet to release the new firmware update for the camera, so we had no control of our in-camera audio levels and we had to shoot 30p rather than 29.97 or 24p. Jonathan made it work. And as you will see, the result was beautiful.

To say that we were on a budget is a huge understatement. We had no budget! When we began shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, we only had one battery for our camera. When the remaining juice got to about one-fourth remaining, the LCD screen would sometimes go black and we'd have to stop the scene while the battery charged long enough for us to get another take.

Anton looking worried because the camera is NOT WORKING.
The camera was new to both Jonathan and Anton so when it went down,
there was nothing left to do but pray and wait for the battery to charge.

One of the most crucial elements of the film was the campervan. We rented from a fantastic company called Cruzy Campers and even though it was the off-season, they agreed to deliver our RV straight to our hostel and for a fantastic price no less! The campervan would be our set, our DIT station and our home for at least 5 days of shooting on the road.

Anton was alarmed to find out that it was a standard transmission and Jonathan had to drive for the first half of the trip until Anton got the hang of driving a stick for the first time (and on the left side of the road no less!). Anton had to learn how to drive because the Josh character drives the campervan in the film!

Jonathan at the wheel of the campervan.

Using a cigarette-lighter car-AC-adapter, two Macbooks and a slew of portable hard-drives, Anton dumped footage from the camera while driving to locations.

Driving DIT Station

With the boys sitting up front, constantly planning what to film next, Cherie rode in style in the back of the campervan.

Cherie said, "you know Anton, I'm used to getting my own trailer."

The entire film, including the epic road-trip from Christchurch to Milford Sound and through Queenstown, only took 10 days to shoot and it's some of the most fun we've ever had in our lives. "More Than It Is" will be beginning a run of film festivals starting late summer 2010, with the hope of many more films to come.

That's A Wrap! The crew has a celebratory drink,
on their last night together in New Zealand
Anton Seim, Cherie Ditcham and Jonathan Nicholas

Special Thanks:

Thanks to Charlie B's Backpackers for letting us film in the hostel, and thank you for your immaculate kitchen, one of the best hostel kitchen's we've ever encountered. Thanks to Andrew from Cruzy Campers as well as Campa South - y'all treated us well and the campervan was fantastic! Thanks to all of the backpackers who agreed to be in our movie, Pete Johnson, Felipe Carpinelli Sabbag, Kyohei Kojima, Mayumi Sekizuka and Beth MacDonald.

And thank you for reading and watching. Enjoy it, and go travel, the world is filled with beauty and adventure!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

London Fell Through

It was supposed to have been a done-deal, a week spent in London directing a commercial at the end of May. But it fell through, for the second time. I hadn't heard from the agency in a week and the reservation for my plane ticket had since expired (thank goodness I hadn't already purchased it), so I had time to prepare myself to be disappointed. I got the official call to tell me it had been cancelled first thing this morning. It was actually quite freeing. Now I don't have to prep the job and I can officially move on to other things.

Keenan Hiett, an editor I met last year, recently moved to L.A. and has agreed to edit my film "More Than It Is" for a small fee. This is a blessing. Almost a year has passed since the original production (May 5 - May 17 2009) and I was beginning to lose hope. Keenan has even edited a fantastic theatrical-length trailer that I will be finishing this weekend and posting next week on Vimeo. I'll of course be promoting it like crazy on Facebook and Twitter, so don't worry, you wont miss it!

I'm living in Dallas-Fort Worth for the rest of May, enjoying time with my family and friends (and girlfriend "hello!"). At some point in June I will probably drive back to L.A. to shoot a cooking TV show for 9 days. I'll be subletting a bedroom from my best friend Ben (so no lease!) and I'll be heading up to San Fransisco in late June to begin filming commercials for an apartment company there.

It's been a busy year so far. My production company, Deliberate Industries, which shares the name of this blog is doing great business and freelance camera and editing work are steady. We are also currently in talks with a few different major U.S. television networks, to shoot a travel show based on the sizzle reel we shot in Australia and New Zealand last year. I can't share the details of that development just yet, but I'm very excited at the prospect of more travel and filmmaking adventure.

Here are some pictures from my recent trip to L.A.:

Honest business people at the DFW Airport:

The San Fernando Valley, flying into Burbank Airport:

Here is my camera setup for the apartment commercials I was shooting, including my Flolight LEDs:

Cole and I video-chatted quite a bit. I used to giggle every time I video-chatted. It has started to feel quite normal...:

A small sampling of some of my L.A. family. We picnicked at a remote part of Griffith Park, on the Burbank side:

My standing desk setup in my sublet apartment. It was really comforting to have all of my books close by. I'm going to start doing that all the time:

The assortment of snacks ($65 worth) that I brought on my 24 hour drive from L.A. to Fort Worth: