On the Road for McDonald's

One of the great parts of our business is the chance to travel…it’s not for nothing that we named the company Road Pictures many moons ago.

EP Greg Malone recently had the pleasure of shepherding a four episode web series for McDonald’s…”What’s Cooking.”  Yes, McDonald’s is a giant company…but that company is made of real people cooking real food for its guests.  And that story was in the creative hands of director/DP Sarorn (Ron) Sim CSC.  It took us from the beaches of Santa Barbara to hip streets of Brooklyn, with stops in the fields of Salinas, the potato harvest in Idaho and kitchens in Chicago.

Ron, who both works as a DP for other directors in the Road crowd (and a long nationwide client list), and steps out as a director/DP, has amazing story of his own…from a refugee camp in Thailand to the striving streets of Windsor and Toronto and now to the middle of America.

McDonald’s came about thanks to Ron’s expertise in moving fast and making the world look beautiful at the same time.  Among the entries on his lengthy CV was a stint as one of two lead DPs on Eric Ripert’s glorious food/travel series, Avec Eric.   Ron was nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award for Food Cinematography.  Folks at Purple Strategies in Chicago came across his work and the rest was a whirlwind tour of America and its farmer-entrepreneurs.  And some pretty darn good content that makes you hungry.

Three episodes are online now.  Click the link below to see what came of our efforts!

https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/about-our-food/meet-our-food-experts/whats-cooking.html

We've Moved!

Folks, the time has finally come for Road Pictures to relocate once again. You can find our mailing address on the "Contact" page of the website. However, if you try to visit us, that location will take you to the main office at the Stutz, not our space! Our office faces Capitol Ave. The front door address is:

1028 N. Capitol Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46202

You can park right on the street and come in. BUT....we're not quite moved in yet. While the space is wrapping up construction, we won't really be in. We'll be working virtually, so you can still get a hold of us via email. If you need to talk to us on the phone, call our cells.

 

Greg Malone: 317-695-7419

Kim Cline: 317-439-2130

Lindsay Mitchell: 317-498-6052

Luke Carr: 317-735-5009

Kathryn Kelley/Accounting: 317-407-6273

 

We plan to be reachable via our emails and cell phones through Friday, August 12th. We hope to be using the space and our office phones by the next week.

Road Work at the Heartland Film Festival

Tim Taylor is one of the great directors we work with, and we’re excited that his film, Citizen Teklit, will be screened at this year’s Heartland Film Festival.   It was DPd and edited by our own Lindsay Mitchell.

I’m thrilled to have played a small role in what Nuvo calls “a breezy, beguiling reminder of what Americans take for granted.”  Tim has drawn a brief, touching portrait of a young man, Teklit Guzay, a North Central HS graduate, on the path to citizenship.

It screens as part of Shorts Program # 8, “The Good, Bad, and Government.”  

You can see the program here:
Tuesday, October 20 at AMC Showplace Traders Point at 7:45 pm, with Tim and Teklit attending; Thursday, October 22 at AMC Castleton at 4 pm with Tim, Teklit and Lindsay; and Saturday, October 24 at AMC Castleton at 4:45 pm with Tim.

Click here and you’ll find a link to the Heartland site:  citizenteklit.com.

If you miss the film in Indy, you can catch it in November at the Lone Star Film Festival in Fort Worth, Texas.

Congratulations, Tim!  You and Lindsay have both done great work here.

And, hey, if you want to see what Tim can do on your next people focused project, give Kim Cline or me a call!

See you at the Heartland,

Greg

When not to move the camera

Lessons learned from Sundance winner

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

This coming-of-age chronicle was both the Grand Jury and Audience Award winner at Sundance this year. When director and Road Pictures collaborator Tim Taylor remarked it was the most authentic storytelling he’d seen in recent years, we asked him to share his comments with us.

 

View the movie trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qfmAllbYC8

 

Roll sound.  Roll camera.  Okay, be real.

Oh that it could be so easy.  And yet director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon makes it look that easy with his deft touch throughout this indie hit.  He also reveals some storytelling techniques that are worth considering, even in the making of commercials and corporate films

But let’s start with the premise:  Greg (Thomas Mann), is a jokey, stand-offish high school senior who has a hobby of making pun -filled home-movie parodies of Hollywood classics with his boyhood pal, Earl (RJ Cyler).  My favorite is their puppet film, A Sockwork Orange. But Greg’s carefully isolated world is forced open when his mother (Connie Britton) pushes him into befriending his classmate Rachel (Olivia Cooke) who has been diagnosed with a fatal form of leukemia.  

Teen films that confront death and dying are rarely both flippant and touching, yet Gomez-Rejon achieves this duality with compelling results.  Here are two of his methods to watch for:

First, notice when the acting is at it’s most moving, the camera doesn’t move at all.  While DP Chung-hoon Chung is clearly influenced by Wes Anderson, the most affecting scenes of Rachel and Greg are simple locked-off wide shots in her bedroom. Chung’s otherwise fluid camera is still, allowing the director room to work. What do we learn here? If the content is moving, the camera doesn’t need to.

Another technique that keeps things authentic is the missing dialogue.  Even though the affection between Greg and Rachel grows steadily throughout the story, neither character ever utters the words, “I love you.” They’re not even in Rachel’s handwritten notes to Greg. Why? They’re not needed.  Their actions speak louder.

Of course in the world of corporate films and commercials the point of our work is more often commerce than art. That is as it should be. Still, this refreshing and nuanced take on a familiar storyline reminds us to look again at our boards and scripts.  When can actions say what we mean in a stronger way than words?  When can the content in front of the camera be more moving than any movement of the camera itself?

Without big-name star power, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl may not make it to every multiplex. You might have to search a bit to find where it’s playing. But the rewards will be well worth it. 

 

Enjoy!

Tim Taylor

Commercials come in many forms...

This past weekend, I saw the Oscar nominated Spike Jonze film, "Her."  The movie is set in an L.A. of the not too distant future; and it follows a man who has fallen in love with his operating system.

I admit, I was troubled by its premise.

If a man falls in love with an operating system...how exactly does he hug it? 

How would Jonze and his team create a world like this and make it believable?  And how would this world and its characters retain their humanity? --- I knew I couldn't bear to sit through a film and watch a man cradling his desktop computer, or answering his phone by tapping on his wristwatch. 

But I suppose the designers didn't have to look too far. 

If you're like me, then each day you marvel at the sleek lines of the computer that sits on your desk, and view the world through the screen of your phone's camera.  If a device fails, it can feel like a little part of the soul goes with it.  (Commence the rush to the store to restore the connection to humanity.)

In some ways, the film and its world feel like that.  There's no rush to any stores, but the film has the air of a living, breathing merchandise display.  It's like a television commercial where tech integrates seamlessly with functionality, fashion, and a warm, hopeful dose of optimism.  And yet it also has the opacity of a world where technology can't answer all of the questions, or solve all of the problems. 

So, while I marveled at the technological implements of the "Her" future (the earpieces, the transit, the pocket sized computers), I was happy to see people using them, and not vice versa.  I was happy to see that they didn't occupy too much of the film's space. 

(Joaquin Phoenix, on the other hand, did occupy much of the film's space, and I say he's pretty great in his role.) 

If "Her" does function somewhat as a commercial, then the product, the film itself, feels like something I can buy into without loathing myself too much for it.


--Stefanie


P.S. What do you think?  #dystopia? #utopia? #thosepantstho?

You can check out the film's "Behind the Scenes" vid here: http://youtu.be/-BprhBgweJA