Director of narrative, commercial, and virtual reality

Film Portfolio

Project Greenlight finalist | Short about sex, death, existence, time

Lily in the Grinder

Shabbat Dinner

Comedy short about coming out | Featured in 55+ festivals

Search is Back

Featured on TechCrunch | 7k users per day

Global event handing out nametags on first Sat in June

Nametag Day

Uber Forecast

Tracking Uber's surge pricing to guess what the weather might be

Archive for April, 2010

Studies in Play – Harvard Ballet Company

The video and its accompanying dance are playing THIS WEEKEND IN CAMBRIDGE at the Harvard Ballet Company’s “Silhouettes” – go see them!!

About a month ago, friend and choreographer Owen David contacted me about doing an introduction to his dance piece, which was commissioned by the Harvard Ballet Company. His dance piece and the video premiere in a show THIS WEEKEND at Harvard, so buy tickets if you’re in the area!

So why is it called Studies in Play? Because we had a lot of fun making it! It was supposed to be a quick and light endeavor, but video projects rarely are. It was such a release to be behind a camera finding shots and playing with dancers, swinging around their bodies in interesting locations as they moved; I began to look forward to our after-work sessions even as they ate away at all my free time and then some. Owen and our third collaborator Patra Jongjitirat were loving the release and creative exercise as well (even if they were a bit flustered when I would hit record and say “okay now dance!” “Dance how?” Make it up..improv!”)

We began with a preproduction meeting, then walked around my area in Hell’s Kitchen to do a camera test, a few of whose shots ended up in the final piece. Next we went to my room and shot a bedroom dance, which was actually elaborately choreographed by Owen for the video. It was lit with a $8 worklight hung from my window to look like a streetlamp. We walked out onto my fire escape and filmed there, cand then did two separate video shoots with Owen and Patra – one in Prospect Heights and one on Roosevelt Island. In all we shot 3+ hours of footage.

Post production was a back-and-forth between the edit, the visuals, and sound. We completed a very rough 3-minute edit to start, then trimmed it down to something more approaching a final list. At the same time we began to select ambient sounds. There is a generator in there, a washing machine, overlays from multiple people at multiple parties, noise from the ocean in Hawaii, and very little of the sound we actually recorded. In some cases we were taking noises from the city, remixing them, and adding them to take the place of other noises. The breaths are all mine, the heartbeats stock sounds. I did color correction with Final Cut and the help of Magic Bullet Looks, which gave the film its grainy characteristic. Sound was edited on Soundtrack Pro, which gave us greater flexibility to work with pitch and reverberation.

Many of the films I make have  deep symbolism and multiple narratives interacting, down to the shot-by-shot level. To me it is not important that every bit of that is clear to the viewer, and it is certainly not expertly conveyed in all cases. But I believe that a coherent structure and substructures make for a coherent watching experience. If there is a coherent idea on my end, the viewer will be able to impose their own coherent idea; if there is not, it can get confusing and I would do that only for artistic effect.

I can tell you what was going on in our minds. While Owen’s accompanying dance is all-female, light, and sassy, the video attempts to be another take on femininity. We wanted to convey the experience of going out at night and having an encounter: the thrill of it, but also its overwhelmingness. The oppression of drinking, parties, the city, sex, and ultimately the question: can I handle this all? Is this too much? Is it too fast?

Below I’ve put my two favorite shots that didn’t make it into the final cut. We burned a solo cup on a pan, and if we were to have used it I would have blacked out the background better – and decided it was a bit too much. I also got a beautiful rack focus on these subway steps that just didn’t fit in. Watch the solo cup melting or the stairs rack focus. That’s part of filmmaking, though–killing your favorite elements if they don’t work.

A more honest census ad campaign

Today is the last day to submit your census forms! I’ve been looking at all the census ads on buses and subways lately and wishing there were more truth to them. So I created the census ad campaign that I would like to see:

More after the jump. Give me ideas for others, or you can create your own by downloading this kit (a photoshop document and a font.) Attribution is appreciated. Continue reading “A more honest census ad campaign” »

Chalte Chalte!

A New Yorker who stays in their borough is a sad story indeed–so today Cary, Tumy, Toby and I went into Queens on the 7 train. With so many different ethnic neighborhoods, stores, and food, it’s like Epcot but with cheaper food!

We walked from Woodside to Jackson Heights through Irish, Filipino, and Indian neighborhoods (as well as a few ethnicities I don’t remember.) In New Videomax, a Bollywood video store, I saw a very sweet music video. Through the magic of soundhoud, I figured out it was for Chalte Chalte, a seven minute song from the film Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. The video pays tribute to fifty years of Bollywood and some of its biggest can read more on Wikipedia. It’s beautiful to watch and looks like it was a lot of fun to plan and make:

An affirmation

I am right because I am here
I am true because I am here
I am loved because I am here
And I am strong because I am right, true, and loved.

On Friday I was awash with angst, frustration, and confusion. It happened when I shifted from a hectic type A lifestyle to a weekend with nothing planned to do. I sat down and closed my eyes, and began to think about the power and strength in just existing. Our existence (or at least, our awareness) is the most right and true thing there is–and from this comes strength.

I'm yours multipella

Fuck the big bucks. Fuck production values. Fuck connections, advertising, branding.

Hooray that we can focus on working hard to create something beautiful.